Idaho is facing about the same size overall university budget deficit that San Jose State has right now, if not bigger. I doubt that leads to to the decision SJSU is contemplating, but attempting a "building program" would pretty much cheese off Idaho taxpayers in the most Republican state in the union. WAC berth or no, that's a hosing in the making.
Then there's the fundraising arm of the university getting their feet, legs, knees, and hands stuck in the cement over the University Place project in Boise that has gone spectacularly bad, putting the foundation in a serious deficit (talk of anything from default to begging the legislature for a bailout, which touches back on paragraph 1).
Under these conditions, Idaho would literally have to get a gift of membership from the WAC in order to justify paying rent to Martin Stadium, and I don't see that guaranteeing attendance improvement. The WAC already has no room to toy with members whose 1-A status is up in the air. Of course, if Louisiana Tech doesn't get into CUSA, North Texas becomes extremely valuable to the WAC.
Yes, Idaho has had some problems. But they are being solved as we speak. Idaho has added Women's Swimming to comply with Title IX.
I think the main thing about Martin Stadium is that it is outside and it is a larger stadium. Many people around here really do want an outdoor stadium. I think that's why so many showed up and attended when we played an entire season at Martin. If Idaho were to have plans regarding a stadium, all of it would come from private donations and sponsorships. The state would never fund it... Even before we had these financial problems, I don't think the state would fund it.
I think in Idaho, too many people are all about Boise State. Most of their money raised from donors goes to athletics. Most of UI's money goes to academics. It's just a difference of focus. I'd like to see BSU's graduation rates as well. I think that at one time their football grad rate was one of the lowest in the nation. Ours is much better. Again, our focus is academics, BSU focuses on athletics. I'd like to see a better focus on athletics here. Hell, I'd like to see the vandal win more than 6 times in 4 years. OUCH! :( I think that our program would be much better off if the football team won a few games here and there. It seems to help no matter what.
I still think that if LaTech goes to CUSA that Idaho will be added. You also have to look at the current WAC members. How quickly would they leave if MWC expanded again? Or if the Pac-10 looked to expand? I think the point is that even though Idaho hasn't done things right, they should be in a western conference and not in the SunBelt. We are on par academically with all of the schools in the WAC and even the MWC. I think that Idaho would add value to the WAC. They will meet the minimums (keeping 1-A status) and provide some good regional competition. We have natural rivalries with Boise State, Utah State, NM State, Nevada-Reno, etc. I think we fit, regardless of the "problems" we are having.
Another issue is many people say "move down to 1-AA." Given all the budget problems across many schools, how realistic is that? I think that it would cost more to move back down. If a school has made a commitment to 1-A, and has increased their sports (women's soccer, women's swimming), increased their fundraising, upgraded their athletic workout facility, been able to recruit a few good coaches (men's bball, women's bball, football), etc., I think that it would be almost impossible to drop down to 1-AA. We would have to phase out and eliminate some sports. Our coaches would leave because we are no longer 1-A. We would lose players because they wouldn't want to go to 1-AA. The budget may or may not be better off. Reduced travel expenses, but the reduced competition would cause lower payouts (we play Pac10 schools every year mainly for the $$$). It would also cause lower attendance. So, if this happens we would be in 1-AA, have an athletic department that is ravaged, a failing budget, and low attendance. We have a better situation than that now. Obviously moving down to 1-AA is not a viable option. I think that very few schools (only those in serious financial difficulties) would be able to move back down.