The University of Idaho has presented financial and performance-based evidence to remain a football member of the Sun Belt Conference beyond the 2017 season.
Now the waiting begins.
University President Chuck Staben on Monday gave a presentation to Sun Belt presidents and chancellors, who meet again March 10 to decide the fate of the Idaho football program in the southern-based conference.
Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said Staben’s presentation “was well done and well received.’’
Idaho has a four-year agreement to play football in the Sun Belt, and has the 2016 and 2017 seasons remaining on that agreement. The Sun Belt will take an official vote in March, at the league’s postseason basketball tournament in New Orleans, on whether to extend that agreement.
The issue is revenue-sharing — do Sun Belt leaders want to share their money with more or less schools? — and performance. The Sun Belt, like all Football Bowl Subdivision leagues, receives money from the College Football Playoff, with the amount distributed based on results on the field. Idaho has finished with a losing record in 15 of its past 16 football seasons.
Twelve presidents and chancellors are eligible to vote, including 11 full-time members and league newcomer Coastal Carolina. Idaho needs 75 percent, or nine, of the presidents to vote yes to extend the current agreement.
New Mexico State, also a football-only member of the Sun Belt, faces the same March vote. The university is expected to give its presentation to the conference Wednesday.
The Vandals will release their video presentation after New Mexico State meets with the Sun Belt, a university spokesperson said.
If the Vandals’ football future isn’t in the Sun Belt, a Football Bowl Subdivision program, it could be in the Big Sky, a Football Championship Subdivision league that has extended an open invitation to Idaho. The Vandals competed in Big Sky football from 1965 through the 1995 season.
There is precedence for a football program to be removed from its conference.
Temple was kicked out of the Big East after the 2004 season, its 14th straight losing campaign. The Owls competed as a independent in 2005-06 before joining the Mid-American Conference in 2007, the Big East in 2012 and the American Athletic in 2013.
The Vandals compete in the Big Sky in all other sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.