Feasibility report on ENMU’s possible conference switch near completion

CNJ staff

A committee report studying a possible move for Eastern New Mexico University athletics from the Lone Star Conference to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference is expected to be on the desk of university president Steven Gamble by the end of the week.

ENMU was invited by the RMAC to consider the change earlier this year. An “RMAC feasibility committee” headed by Gene Smith, an associate professor of accounting and the faculty athletic representative, has been busy preparing and tweaking its report and expects to have it to Gamble by Friday.

The committee includes a variety of people associated with ENMU, including faculty, coaches and athletes.

“We were asked to study the feasibility (of a change),” Smith said. “Our report goes to Dr. Gamble, and then he will be making a recommendation to the Board of Regents.”

After he reviews the report, Smith said, Gamble will make a recommendation to the college’s Board of Regents.

ENMU, a member of the LSC since 1987, will continue to play an LSC schedule next year. The school cannot leave the league before May 2012, athletic director Jeff Geiser said.

The 16-team RMAC recently lost Nebraska-Kearney to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and sought ENMU as a possible replacement. The league has schools in Nebraska, Colorado and New Mexico.

The LSC is losing five of its six Oklahoma schools after the current school year — two to the MIAA and three to the Gulf Coast Conference. That would leave an 11-school conference, including Texas Woman’s, which competes in only women’s sports, and Lawton, Okla.-based Cameron, which does not sponsor football.

Geiser said that whatever happens, ENMU has benefited from the study.

“The whole process has been good for Eastern,” he said. “It’s allowed us to scrutinize the problems we have in the athletic department.”