Dear Aggie Fans and Supporters,
As we start our sports season, I want to provide an update on conference affiliations and steps we are taking to ensure a strong future for our athletics program. I have heard from many of you and appreciate the support you have offered as we work through conference challenges. Our coaches and our student-athletes are focused on the task at hand, which is to win WAC championships. Hope to see you at our games. Several of our sports have already kicked off their respective seasons so come out and support our teams.
Here is a brief update:
What factors led to the current situation with athletic conference realignment?
As many of you know, the athletic conference landscape radically changed during the last few years with more than 160 conference moves. One of the key factors driving the shifts in conference affiliations is the need to find sustainable revenue streams and help cover athletic budgets. Clearly, conferences add members with one goal in mind: How does this improve our conference competitively and what additional resources will a new member bring? The financial concern led conferences to examine television contracts as a source of funds. Unfortunately, Las Cruces is not a major television market and does not contribute value to a conference from the perspective of TV revenues.
What have we been doing?
We have been and continue to aggressively seek out the very best option for NMSU. Our Board of Regents, President Barbara Couture and I have been investigating alternatives, analyzing different scenarios and discussing options. First, we have discussed what steps would be required to rebuild the WAC. Second, we have talked to other conferences, including the Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Big Sky, about membership opportunities as either a full member or a football-only member. And, at every step along the way we have promoted NMSU, our commitment to a quality athletics program, and the city of Las Cruces telling the good story about what is going on here. Seemingly every hour of every day President Couture and I continue to contact university athletic directors, university presidents and conference commissioners to explore options and build a sound plan for NMSU's future conference membership.
Where does this leave NMSU?
NMSU is committed to continuing at the Division 1 level and we are committed to our football program. Our focus is to win WAC championships and to be the best mid-major program we can be. Looking ahead, we are planning to play as an independent football program in 2013. Nine of 12 football games have already been scheduled with at least five of those games to be played at home. The entire 2013 football schedule should be available in mid-October. Even though our football program will be independent in 2013, NMSU will remain a WAC member in all other sports.
We need your help!
Your enthusiastic and visible support of our athletics program will send a message to our Division I competitors that we have something very special here. Our Division I peers need to know that we are a college town with loyal, committed fans wholove their Aggies. They need to know that a trip to Las Cruces provides an unparalleled experience for their students and fans. We may not be a top 10 television market, but we can show our spirit and enthusiasm for college sports. Conferences want members who contribute to the conference in many ways. Let's show our colors and put on the very best show possible to our visitors and guests!
We have a very good story to tell when it comes to the achievements of our student-athletes and the quality of this university. This is an important asset that we have aggressively promoted as we have pursued the various conference membership options. You can help us spread the word about NMSU and the success of our student-athletes, our coaches and our various athletic programs. We are excited about winning WAC championships and we have many pride points to celebrate. Here are a few examples from the 2011-2012 academic year:
- 34 student-athletes posted a PERFECT 4.0 Fall semester GPA
- 50 student-athletes posted a PERFECT 4.0 Spring semester GPA
- 247 student-athletes achieved a 3.0or higherFall semester GPA
- 243 student-athletes achieved a 3.0or higherSpring semester GPA
- Student-athletes compiled more than 5,000 community service hours
- Softball head coach Kathy Rodolph andWomen's golf coaches Jackie Booth and Paul Brilliant were named WAC Coaches of the Year
During the past three seasons, we have an impressive record of wins in the WAC:
- Baseball: Regular season WAC Co-Champs in 2012, NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012
- Men's Basketball: WAC Tournament Champs in 2010 and 2012 and NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2012
- Softball: WAC regular season and tournament champs in 2011, NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011
Thank you again for your support and go Aggies!
Dr. McKinley Boston
New Mexico State University