Idaho returning to the Big Sky in 2014

Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE

The Vandals were charter members of the conference in 1963 before leaving after the 1995-96 season.

The Idaho Vandals will re-join the Big Sky conference beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, league commissioner Doug Fullerton and University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis announced on Friday.

The Vandals were a charter member of the conference in 1963 and remained with the conference until leaving after the 1995-96 season. They most recently joined the Western Athletic Conference before the 2005-06 season, but will leave that conference in fewer than two years.

However, the Vandals' football program will not join the Big Sky, as it has instead elected to play as an independent in the FBS. The only current teams playing as independents in the FBS are Notre Dame, BYU, Army and Navy.

The rest of the school's sports, though, will compete as member No. 12 of the Big Sky that features Idaho's in-state rival, the Idaho State Bengals. The Big Sky has had recent changes, as North Dakota and Southern Utah are each in their first season with the conference, while UC Davis and Cal Poly are in their first seasons as football-affiliate members.

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