I am an alumnus of the University of Idaho and a proud Vandal. All three of my sons have also attended the university, so it runs in our family. I am also an Idaho high school teacher, which gives me ample opportunity to promote UI to my students. And it is a source of continuing delight when any of my students choose UI as their post-secondary university. I want the University of Idaho to have a rich, long, and successful future. That is why I am writing you this letter.
I would like to start a movement to force the University of Idaho to return its football program to the Big Sky Conference. This is where we belong. Squandering university resources to compete in the Sun Belt is not only nonsensical, but it does nothing to promote the university to potential in-state students. And high school students do look at this. Instead, it forces comparisons between Boise State University and the University of Idaho where, of course, the Vandals come up short.
Why the University of Idaho insists on competing as perennial bottom-dwellers in Division 1 FBS football is beyond me. Is it to satisfy the ego of some rich donors? The Big Sky is where we belong: here there are natural regional rivalries, e.g. Idaho State, Montana State, the University of Montana, and Eastern Washington. Idaho has a rich history and traditions here — all the rest of Vandal sports compete here — and, gosh, just check out those banners handing in the Kibbie Dome. None of these reasons apply to the Sun Belt. None of them.
Thank you, and Go Vandals.
Mike Turnlund, UI alumnus