Idaho and New Mexico State will no longer compete in the Sun Belt Conference after the 2017 football season.
Both schools were members of the league in the early 2000s and rejoined the conference as football-only members for the 2014 season after a 10-year hiatus. Idaho has considered moving to the Football Championship Subdivision and joining the Big Sky Conference if it were to leave the Sun Belt. Idaho already competes in the Big Sky in other sports. New Mexico State is in the Western Athletic Conference for other sports.
“We are disappointed by the Sun Belt’s decision,” said Chuck Staben, UI president. “But we are optimistic about the options before us and we are continuing to diligently consider our future affiliation as an opportunity to find the stability and full participation we have not experienced in the Sun Belt. We will make a decision in the coming months.”
Coastal Carolina is moving from FCS to FBS for the 2016 season and has been accepted into the Sun Belt.
“The University of Idaho will continue to assess how to provide the best experience for our student-athletes and fans,” Staben said. “Football is an important part of the college experience. A strong, stable athletic program complements the university’s great academic programs, enhances the student experience and engages our alumni and fans.”