LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico State University will be joining the Sun Belt Conference as a football only member after the official announcement from the conference commissioner and university officials Wednesday afternoon.
NMSU will be joining the Sun Belt as a football only member beginning in the summer of 2014.
"It's a great thing for us we kind of felt left out unloved and unwanted and now we have a home so we're excited about a place to go now," said Bob Porter a former Aggie Basketball player in the 1950's.
The conference added New Mexico State and Idaho, the only two remaining Western Athletic Conference members without a conference after the WAC dissolved.
The Aggies plan on playing as independents for the 2013 season.
"I's a good fit because being independent is certainly a bad fit," Porter said.
Athletics Director Dr. McKinley Boston said playing without a conference will only bring in $300,000 from the FBS.
He said even though it's too soon to know exactly how much playing in the Sun Belt will bring, it will be a considerable difference.
"This football only member provides a net financial growth as a result of this new agreement," Boston said.
Boston joked at a news conference about having lifted a huge weight off his shoulders by being able to find the program a home in 2014.
He said it took a lot of relationship building and a strong presentation on what NMSU brings to the conference to get the invitation.
Boston along with Interim President Manuel Pacheco visited schools in the conference to make their pitch for NMSU.
Pacheco said the conference is a good fit with a lot of the schools being similar to New Mexico State.
"We have all of a sudden move into a much better category because we compare very favorably to the other schools in terms of budgets," Pacheco said.
The expectation is for NMSU to be competitive in the now 12-member conference and compete for a conference title.