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New Mexico State Interim President Dr. William Flores announced today that New Mexico State University will join the Western Athletic Conference beginning with the 2005-06 academic year.
"New Mexico State University has been very desirous of joining the WAC for some time because of the location of the teams," NMSU President William Flores said. "Geographically, they are close to NMSU and they are teams that our fans are familiar with. In addition, the WAC is home to UTEP, which is another exciting aspect because it allows us to play one of our historic rivals in conference competition
New Mexico State is currently a member of the Sun Belt Conference, a league it joined in 2001.
"Joining the Western Athletic Conference is another step forward for our athletic department," said NMSU Athletics Director Brian Faison.
"One of the key reasons for our continued development has been the great support given to us by the Sun Belt Conference. I don't think we'd be where we are today without Wright Waters and the Sun Belt Conference membership.
The Western Athletic Conference is a great move for us because it aligns us with longtime rivals and gives our fans a chance to better identify with conference teams."
New Mexico State has shared conference affiliation with Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, San Jose State and UTEP. The Aggies are currently members of the Sun Belt Conference with future WAC member Utah State.
The Aggies have enjoyed great success across the board both academically and athletically over the last three years.
NMSU has earned eight Verizon Academic All-America honors, 18 Verizon Academic All-District VI selections and 307 academic all-conference selections.
USA Today honored NMSU with the 2002 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Award. The department also had the 2002 male (Eric Channing) and 2003 female (Alena Sharp) Sun Belt Conference Student Athletes of the Year.
NMSU has won 10 conference or divisional championships and have seen teams advance to NCAA postseason play eight times.
The Aggies have led the Sun Belt Conference in attendance in 2002 and 2003 in football, volleyball and men's basketball.
NMSU athletes have received all-America recognition seven times, four have been selected Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and 203 have earned all-conference recognition. NMSU coaches have been recognized Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year five times.
The department is also in the process of significant facility renovations.
The $6 million Fulton Athletics Center is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed this spring. The center will house academic support services, the athletic training educational program, academic joint usage options and space to create additional revenue streams in the facility through special events, skyboxes and the University Club.
A $12 million renovation of the Pan American Center, home to NMSU men's and women's basketball and volleyball, will address immediate needs including improved fan amenities, practice facilities, locker rooms and office space.
The Aggies began conference affiliation in athletics in 1932 when they joined the Border Conference. The Aggies left that league at the end of the 1961-62 academic year and became an independent. NMSU rejoined conference play in 1971 when the school joined the Missouri Valley Conference. The Aggies left the MVC at the end of the 1982-83 academic year and joined the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, which changed names to the Big West Conference in 1989. The Aggies left the Big West at the end of the 1999-2000 academic year and joined the Sun Belt Conference.
The Aggies' women's athletic teams were also members of the Intermountain Conference of the AIAW from 1973 through 1982 and the High Country Athletic Conference from 1982 through 1990.