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NMSU presidential candidate open to moving, or dropping, football

Trevor Walls, Troy Stoudermire Jr. AP

New Mexico State was saved from an uncertain future in football when it was invited to join the Sun Belt as a football-only member in March. Conference realignment had picked apart the WAC to the point of extinction, leaving NMSU and Idaho to fend for themselves and find a new home.

Before briefly settling on football independence for the 2013 season, it was thought that New Mexico State could move down to the FCS level. Apparently, that’s still not out of the question forĀ Garrey Carruthers, one of five finalists to become president at NMSU. In an open forum discussion last week, Carruthers said he was open to the idea of moving the football program down, or perhaps eliminating the program altogether. From the Las Cruces Sun-News:

“I’ve actually had conversations with people in the Big Sky Conference,” Carruthers said, referring to a league in the Football Championship Subdivision. “That’s sort of a notch below in football. They’re not eligible for BCS bowls. But what do you think our prospects of getting (to) a BCS bowl anytime soon will be anyway? Not great. I think there’s some other conferences around, where our athletics budget would actually be at the top of the list instead of at the bottom in terms of how much money we’re spending.”

Carruthers added, “I do know there’s a limit to how much money we can spend. And that limit is probably what we’re spending right now. We have to find a conference we’re comfortable in financially.”

Carruthers said during the public forum that he would also consider dropping football altogether.

“The rest of our sports are doing rather well, believe it or not,” he said. “Maybe we should be a minor-sport (program) …. Somebody even mentioned to me yesterday, maybe we should drop football. Maybe one of the options is just stay the course and just join the Missouri Valley (Conference) and play all the sports they play. … That’s an option we need to take a look at. The most expensive sport is football, and probably the least successful at the moment.”

As Carruthers is still a candidate to become university president, nothing is imminent regarding a decision and the Aggies are still Sun Belt bound. It should also be noted that Carruthers said he is not in favor of dropping football even though he would consider it.

But it’s an interesting, candid conversation about the feasibility of fielding a FBS football team. In a time when playoff access, television revenue and media rights agreements are large factors in the literal and figurative wealth of a program, there are fewer discussions about the five lower-tier FBS conferences that don’t stand to make a lot of money and their struggles just to keep afloat. And the gap is clearly widening.

The idea of schools breaking away from the NCAA as a result still seems far-fetched, but another split within the FBS that affects rules, possible athlete compensation, etc, could be closer to reality.

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3 Responses to “NMSU presidential candidate open to moving, or dropping, football”
  1. gripless says: May 9, 2013 9:32 PM

    Perhaps if you fielded a football team you would realize the exponetioal revenue opportunities.

    Don’t hire this guy as he lacks leadership, brains and vision!

  2. dietrich43 says: May 9, 2013 10:19 PM

    University of Chicago has done fine with disbanding, then bringing back as D3.

  3. scoocha says: May 10, 2013 10:53 AM

    Refreshing take from an obviously an intelligent man. I will never understand fans from these terrible academic/athletic schools that need to have their teams competing on the highest level just to have their brains beat in.
    Move down to Big Sky, your team has and will never be a major player in football. I just wish 50 teams were kicked out of FBS to FCS.
    Incomplete list but the only teams off the top of my head that deserve to still be in FBS after transitiong from FCS are Boise State, Marshall, Ga Southern, and App State. If you don’t succeed in FCS you can’t move up to FBS, plain and simple.
    Georgia State, Charlotte – just jokes.

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