Two years ago, the Western Athletic Conference dissipated and left two teams, New Mexico State and Idaho, without a football conference to call their home. That is when they made the strange choice of joining the Sun Belt as football-only members.
The Sun Belt is made up of teams traditionally located in the southeastern part of the country (Georgia Southern, Troy, Louisiana Tech), but once the Vandals and Aggies joined, it made everything a lot more complex. Now it seems as though the Vandals could be making another exit from a conference after just two seasons.
In August, the Sun Belt announced that they would be welcoming in FCS power Coastal Carolina as a member of the conference, which would give them enough teams to field a conference championship game in the near future. This move has made the conference look at possibly cutting ties with the Vandals when they vote for an extension in January.
According to The Vandal Nation, the Sun Belt will likely vote to put the team out of the conference following the 2016-17 season. Despite there being reports of the team’s extension being all but assured, Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson said that they could be going in a different direction after the Chanticleers agreed to join the conference.
“When Idaho and New Mexico State were added to the Sun Belt that was one of the reasons they were added,” Benson said. “To get to 12 teams and do a conference championship game. Whether that policy remains is still unknown and won’t be known until January. That (policy) is expected to be eliminated … ”
So where would that put the Vandals as far as their new conference home? The likely and smart choice for the school would be to join the Mountain West. It would make travel a whole lot easier for them and it would provide the possibility of having some more regional rivalries.
Whatever happens in January, it’s safe to say that the Sun Belt is looking to expand, but it doesn’t look like the Vandals will be a part of their future.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports