The New Mexico State Aggies were in communication with Georgia Southern about possible joint membership into the Sun Belt Conference.
Such exploration has since fallen through, however, according to NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston.
Still, don't believe the Aggies interest or pursuit of Sun Belt affiliation is over. Obviously NMSU needs a conference for football (even if the 2013 independent football schedule is actually pretty awesome. It's not something the program can or wants to do for a long period).
The Aggies would likely in fact prefer a full-sport affiliation with a league, although don't necessarily count on that. NMSU isn't exactly approaching the table with a major bargaining chip in hand. Some pros of adding the Aggies: They've been competitive in Olympic sports, academically they're in good standing, and they're currently a FBS member. But reality also suggests NMSU needs conference affiliation at the moment more than a conference needs NMSU. Again, football needs a home and has been historically poor, while the WAC has added members, but remains largely unattractive.
The Sun Belt, which has been steadfast in wanting to remain within it's geographic boundary, would still be doing the Aggies a service by taking them as a football-only member — particularly if the league seeks a 12-team, two-division football format — while leaving NMSU's non-football sports in the WAC. Nothing is etched in stone, obviously, just making interpretations, inferences and possibilities.
For the record, the WAC has solidified it's standing in it's non-football sport memberships by adding in recent months: Chicago State, Texas Pan American, Utah Valley, California State Bakersfield, Missouri-Kansas City and Grand Canyon. Northern Colorado and North Dakota have been brought in as baseball affiliates.
It's not a question at the moment of it being a quality league, because it really isn't. But it is a league where automatic-qualifying berths for non-football sports are still available, meaning NMSU's Olympic-sport programs have lifelines in that regard. It's football program, on the other hand, is still looking for one.
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