Every third Thursday of each month, Idaho Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Spear will post a new blog entry directed towards Vandal fans. Dr. Spear will use these monthly communiqués to set the record straight and talk to you – Vandal to Vandal..
An archive of previous blog entries can be accessed here.
Once again there have been questions raised about the University of Idaho and its future in the Western Athletic Conference. The recent announcement of the merger between Conference-USA and the Mountain West Conference has escalated everyone’s concern about the athletic future of the University of Idaho. While we can’t control some of these macro issues, we can control the message about why the University of Idaho is a good fit for any conference. First of all, the University of Idaho gives any non-BCS conference a great presence in the Northwest. The University of Idaho is in the 75th largest media market in the country with a population exceeding one million people in the Greater Inland Empire.
The University continues to be a leading academic and research university that would bring tremendous value to the overall recognition of any conference. We are a top 200 High Research Activity Ph.D. granting University with a presence in 70 locations across the State of Idaho. These locations help the University generate more than $100 million in research expenditures and rank the University in the top 25 percent of National Science Foundation funding. Finally, our 74 national merit scholars rank second among Northwest higher education institutions.
While these trademarks of excellence distinguish us from our peers on the academic and research front, we also continue to make strides athletically. We currently are in third place in the WAC Commissioner Cup race with high expectations that women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, and women’s tennis will compete for WAC Championships. All indications point to this being our best year as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Of course, this is very timely as we monitor the changing conference landscape and COMMUNICATE our successes to the conference decision makers.
President Nellis and I are working hard to communicate the positive aspects of the University of Idaho. As we continue to improve, we need your help in filling our stadium every Saturday this fall. You can help position us for the future when you purchase your season tickets for 2012. Season tickets go on sale April 9 through the UI ticket office (208-885-6466) or at www.GoVandals.com.