It's Our Time Now

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State University began a new era today as the Aggies are now officially members of the Western Athletic Conference.

NMSU, which was most recently a member of the Sun Belt Conference from 2001-2005, will join Idaho and Utah State as the newest members of the WAC. The Aggies will also renew several historic rivalries with former conference foes Boise State, Fresno State, Hawai'i, Louisiana Tech, Nevada and San Jose State.

"New Mexico State, as a member of the Western Athletic Conference, begins to help us better brand ourselves with other institutions which are similar in terms of location, program commitment and regional rivalries that fans can relate with," NMSU Athletics Director Dr. McKinley Boston said. "Our fans will be able to enjoy a very high level of competition against schools such as Fresno State, Hawai'i and Boise State, which was a BCS participant in football last year."

"Under the leadership of Commissioner Karl Benson, the WAC, as a conference office, has done a wonderful job over the years of providing a high level of conference championships for student-athletes and we look forward to becoming a part of that great tradition," Boston said. "The conference office will also do a wonderful job of providing the kind infrastructure that we need to better run our program, especially when it comes to our relationships with our television and bowl partners."

"We are excited that New Mexico State has become one of the newest members of the WAC," Commissioner Karl Benson said. "The Aggies bring a rich athletic tradition to the conference that fits with the goals and objectives of the other WAC members. The enthusiasm shown by everyone at New Mexico State has been well received. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship."

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 independent for the next nine years. 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 became 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, where they were members from 2000-01 till this past academic year. 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.

"Our student-athletes will enjoy a higher profile that membership in the WAC will bring," Boston said. "Many student-athletes who are recruited want to go to an institution and compete against the best and at the highest level possible and I think that this will provide that opportunity for our student-athletes. I am really excited that our fans will be able to travel more and also get to enjoy our games on television at a rate that was not available in the past."

"I think the caliber of coaching in the WAC represents the type of high quality talent that we want to compete against in conference play," Boston said. "This will be good for us and it will help us, as a department, to better market ourselves and promote our teams and student-athletes."

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