Aggies & Lobos Announce Rio Grande Rivalry Trophy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico State Athletics Department in a joint effort with the University of New Mexico Athletics Department announced Friday, July 13th that with the help of Route 66 Casino as a title sponsor, will start a traveling rivalry trophy between the two schools.

The NMSU vs. UNM Rivalry Series, formally called the Rio Grande Rivalry, will premier with the 2007-2008 athletic calendar year and will highlight one of the most competitive rivalries in the nation.

"The friendly rivalry between the Aggies and the Lobos has long excited and energized fans of both teams,” NMSU President Dr. Mike Martin said. “The ‘rivalry trophy’ will further highlight our shared commitment to good sportsmanship competition on the field and a shared commitment to high-quality education in every other venue."

NMSU Athletics Director Dr. McKinley Boston has been involved with other special collegiate rivalry games such as the ‘Little Brown Jug’ rivalry (Minnesota vs. Michigan) and the ‘Paul Bunyan’s Axe’ (Minnesota vs. Wisconsin) and he is excited to see this rivalry series grow from what is already a passionate rivalry between the two schools.

“I have been lucky enough in my 30 years in athletics to have participated in some special rivalry games,” Boston said. “Although I’ve only been involved in the NMSU vs. UNM rivalry for a couple of years, the intensity of the game and communities from Northern and Southern New Mexico make this a special rivalry. I think this new format will only enhance the fun and affinity for the alums and fans from the two schools.”

The competition of the rivalry series will be based upon a point system devised to reward victories from athletic competition between the two schools. There is a possible 25.5 points to be earned from victories in the various sports. If the schools face each other more than once in a certain sport, each individual game will have points on the line.

At the end of the athletic year, the school that has accumulated the most points from Rio Grande Rivalry victories will hold the trophy for an entire year. The trophy will be presented to the winning school at the end of the year in a press conference.

The trophy is currently being designed with collaboration from both schools. After the first season of the rivalry series, the trophy will be officially recognized at the first NMSU vs. UNM football or basketball home game of the winning team from the previous year.

In the upcoming athletic calendar, the Aggies and the Lobos are set to face one another in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s swimming, men’s and women’s golf and in women’s track and field. Sports that only compete in tournaments against each other will decide which tournament counts towards the rivalry series prior to the season starting.

A press conference/reception announcing the Rio Grande Rivalry will be held on Friday, July 13 at the El Pinto restaurant in Albuquerque. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and the press conference will be held at 7:00 p.m. from the restaurant. Dr. Martin, Dr. Boston and new Aggie men’s basketball head coach Marvin Menzies along with prominent figures from UNM will be present at the press conference.

The Rio Grande Rivalry kicks off on Sept. 4 when the NMSU and UNM volleyball teams meet at 7:00 p.m. in Las Cruces at the Pan American Center. On Sept. 8, the second event of the rivalry series takes place in Albuquerque at UNM’s University Stadium, when the Aggies and the Lobos meet on the football gridiron at 7:00 p.m.