The Idaho Vandals will drop down from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) for the 2018 season, the school officially announced on Thursday.
Pending approval by the State Board of Education, the Idaho Vandals will join the Big Sky Conference in the fall of 2018. Idaho is the first FBS school to ever move down to the FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA).
“I understand the magnitude of this decision and the strong opinions that surround it, both for and against, but joining the Big Sky Conference is the best possible course for our athletics program and for our university,” said Chuck Staben, UI president. “We have carefully weighed our options and concluded that competing as an independent with an extremely uncertain future conference affiliation would be irresponsible when we have the alternative of joining one of the most stable FCS conferences. The Big Sky allows us to renew traditional rivalries and offers our athletes the opportunity to excel, just as they do in our other Big Sky sports programs.”
Back on March 1, the Sun Belt Conference announced that the football membership of Idaho and New Mexico State would not be renewed and that they league would move forward with ten football playing members after the 2017 season.
Idaho, like new Mexico State, was a member of the WAC from 2005 until it disbanded after the 2012 season. Both played as FBS Independents in 2013 before joining the Sun Belt in 2014.
For 31 seasons between 1965 and 1995, Idaho was a member of the Big Sky Conference in Division I-AA. The Vandals then left the Big Sky for the Big West in 1996 before joining the WAC.
With the Vandals moving down to the FCS, they will likely have several future non-conference football contracts altered or possible canceled altogether. If the schools still decide to play, the financial guarantees to Idaho will likely be lowered.
Below is a list of each game announced and the contract stipulations, if known, per copies obtained from the University of Idaho.
at Fresno State (2018)
Second game of a home-and-home series. No stipulation regarding a drop to FCS. $750,000 cancellation fee.
vs. Wyoming (2018-19)
First game of a home-and-home series (second in 2019). No stipulation regarding a drop to FCS. $500,000 cancellation fee per game.
at Northern Illinois (2018)
Copy of contract not obtained.
at Florida (2018)
No stipulation regarding a drop to FCS. Damages of $1.2 million for breach of contract.
at Penn State (2019)
No stipulation regarding a drop to FCS. Damages of $1.45 million for breach of contract. Contract states that either school may cancel due to a change in scheduling requirements that includes “without limitation, changes in the number of conference games to be played, or changes resulting from the addition or subtraction of conference members.”
at San Jose State (2019-23)
First game of a four-game series (2019-23). $1 million cancellation fee per game. Upon Idaho signing the contract, an amendment was added to include the following:
In the event any game to be played hereunder is canceled or rescheduled as a result of a change in the scheduling requirements of either party’s member conference, neither party shall be responsible to the other for any loss or damage resulting from such change. For purposes of this paragraph, a change in scheduling requirements shall include, without limitation, changes in the number of conference games to be played, or changes resulting from the addition or subtraction of conference members.
at Temple (2020)
Second game of a home-and-home series that started in 2013 in Moscow. $500,000 cancellation fee or $1 million if less than 365 days before the date of the game. Contract does have this stipulation:
In the event the Game is canceled or rescheduled as a result of a change in the scheduling requirements of either Party’s member conference, neither party shall be responsible to the other for any loss or damages resulting from such change. For purposes of this paragraph, a change in scheduling requirements shall include, without limitation, changes in the number of conference games to be played, changes from the addition or subtraction of conference members, or any other changes in conference schedules. If either Party moves from its current conference to another conference within two years following the execution of this Agreement, the Parties will in good faith attempt to reconcile any required scheduling changes that may occur as a result of such a move.
at LSU (2020)
Contract calls for LSU to pay Idaho a $1.4 million guarantee. Game cancellation fees are $700,000 (24 months or more from the date of the game); $950,000 (12 months or more, but less than 24 months from the date of the game); $1.2 million (Less than 12 months from the date of the game). Contract included the following stipulation:
It is understood and agreed by and between the parties here to that this Agreement is conditioned upon the participants (HOME TEAM and VISITING TEAM) being a Division 1A member of the NCAA at least twenty-four (24) months prior to the date the game is scheduled, and being a Division 1A member at the time the game is played. In the event either team fails to maintain Division 1A membership, the other team has the right to cancel the game without penalty upon reasonable notice to the other party.
at Indiana (2021 & 2022)
Guarantee to Idaho is $1.2 million for the game in 2021 and $1.3 million for the game in 2022. If Idaho cancels, they must pay IU $1 million (if notified two years before date of scheduled game) or $1.3 million (if notified less than two years before date of scheduled game). The contract does state the following regarding termination:
This Agreement may be terminated under the following conditions:
A. By mutual consent of both Parties, in writing.
B. By either party if that party has formally dropped NCAA participation in the sport identified in this Agreement.
at Old Dominion (2022)
Copy of contract not obtained.
vs. Nevada (2021 or 2022)
Game was originally scheduled for 2015 before being pushed back to 2019, and now 2021 or 2022. No stipulation regarding a drop to FCS. Contract includes the following regarding cancellation:
If either party fails to comply with the terms and conditions of this contract by unilaterally canceling the agreement to play the game, that party shall pay to the other the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) as liquidated damages and not a penalty. If cancellation is by mutual consent, this contract shall be null and void.