Unlike Idaho, New Mexico State plans to stay at the FBS level.
NMSU Board of Regents Chair Debra Hicks told the Las Cruces Sun-News Thursday that the Aggies “are staying the course with FBS for the foreseeable future.”
Like Idaho, NMSU’s football-only Sun Belt Conference membership ends after the 2017 season. Idaho made the decision last week to drop down to the FCS level. NMSU won’t be following in the Vandals’ footsteps and plans to compete as an FBS Independent once the 2018 season rolls around.
“In May of 2013, the board of regents passed a resolution to stay the course with FBS,” Hicks said. “The committee will continue their work to come up with their proposal in what we should do in regards to conference alignment but we are staying the course with FBS for the foreseeable future.”
The school put together an 18-member “Athletic Review Committee” to weigh all possible options for football, including joining an FCS-level conference. Ultimately, the committee (Hicks was a member) opted to continue on while using the aforementioned May 2013 board resolution as a frame of reference.
Hicks said the issue will not be an action item in front of the regents, but rather the board will reaffirm the 2013 resolution. Hicks said the 2013 resolution and financial considerations were the determining factors in the committee’s consensus to move forward as an independent football program.
Hicks said Idaho’s decision to join the Big Sky in 2018 prompted NMSU officials to act.
“Idaho just happened and that has created a firestorm,” Hicks said. “We have student athletes who are very interested in what they are playing in the next few years. That was a critical decision that needed to be made so that everyone has a confident feeling about that while we really look at conference alignment.”
In three seasons at the FBS level – one as an independent and two in the Sun Belt – the Aggies are a combined 7-29. NMSU started last season 0-7 before winning three straight conference games over Idaho, Texas State and UL-Lafayette. The Aggies then dropped their final two games to finish the year 3-9.
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