The announcement came early Thursday morning from NMMI Athletic Director Jose Barron. "We are delighted to have been invited to such a prestigious conference, and look forward to the Fall of 2016," said Barron.
The Bronco football program has been a member of the nine-team Western States Football League since the program's re-inception in 1992, after a 10-year hiatus. The Broncos will remain in the WSFL for the upcoming 2015 season.
The SWJCFC is currently comprised of seven schools: the Blinn College Buccaneers in Brenham, TX; the Cisco College Wranglers in Cisco, TX; the Kilgore College Rangers in Kilgore, TX; the Navarro College Bulldogs in Corsicana, TX; the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen in Miami, OK; the Trinity Valley CC Cardinals in Athens, TX; and the Tyler Junior College Apaches in Tyler, TX.
When asked about the reasons for the conference change, Head Bronco Football Coach Joe Forchtner replied "I think it just makes sense from a geographic and competitive standpoint. Six of the seven current members are Texas schools. Our basketball program, our volleyball program, our baseball program all play schools to the east of us; they're all playing Texas schools. That's a natural set of rivalries that our school has and I think it's important for our football program to be a part of that, too."
Coach Forchtner continued by saying that the SWJCFC is one of the top conferences in the nation for junior college football. That statement is backed up by NJCAA National Championship titles – 16 total by the current members of the SWJCFC, including three since 2006. "It's always kind of nerve-wracking seeing what you're getting yourself into but we're excited. We've played Cisco and we've played Navarro, but we've never gone through that conference from start to finish for the length of a season. I know it it's a good conference, top to bottom, and it's going to be a challenge all the way through."
Coach Forchtner also wanted to thank the members of the SWJCFC committee for the invitation to join the conference. "The support from the conference has been great. I think the coaches passed it unanimously, the presidents passed it unanimously. It's a move that will be beneficial both for us and for the SWJCFC, and obviously it feels good to be wanted, especially by such a great league."
One of those voting committee members is Brad Smiley, the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Trinity Valley Community College. Coach Smiley had this to say: "The members of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) are extremely excited about the addition of New Mexico Military Institute to our league. The opportunity to add a football program with such a great tradition and rich history only adds to what we feel is already one of the strongest junior college football conferences in the country."