MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) _ The University of Idaho football team turned down an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference.

Athletic director Mike Bohn said the school could not accept the invitation by Tuesday's deadline because university officials did not have time to meet with boosters, state Board of Education members and Gov. Dirk Kempthorne about the move.

Idaho was formally invited to join the conference on Friday.

The decision not to join the Sun Belt may mean Idaho will play as a NCAA Division I-A football independent because its current conference, the Big West, will not sponsor football after next season.

Bohn said Idaho officials will continue exploring the possibility of joining the league in the future, but Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters said the league plans to move forward without the Vandals and will not offer a deadline extension.