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NMSU SPORTS

Aggie sports are back in business

Posted

Welcome back, Aggie fans.

It’s time to get out to some games and root for the home team.

New Mexico State University Athletics Director Mario Moccia has announced that all Aggie athletics venues will return to 100 percent attendance capacity for the upcoming 2021-22 season.

That’s welcome news for sports fans.

That major announcement came shortly after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ended the county-by-county color-coded system and lifted all Covid-19 health restrictions on business and day-to-day activities starting on July 1.

What that means is Aggie fans will be able to go out and see their favorite team at home and have a little fun this school year, Moccia said.

“We are very excited,” Moccia said. “This is a shot in the arm for Aggie fans. I think this will help spur football season ticket sales and well as other ticket sales.”

Moccia talked to the Las Cruces Bulletin while hosting an invitation-only celebration and unveiling of Cantera Negra being named the official tequila of NSMU athletics on July 8 at Elephant Ranch.

The event was well-attended by enthusiastic fans ready to get back to normal.

“As you can see, people are really anxious to be around other people, be around Aggie events and hang out with everyone,” Moccia said.

The Aggies will kick off their football season with a home game on Aug. 28 against archrival UTEP. Other home football games will be against South Carolina State (Sept 18), Hawaii (Sept. 25) Utah State (Nov. 6) and UMass (Nov. 27).

Last week, NMSU also announced season tickets for men’s basketball are now on sale. It will mark the return of men’s basketball to the Pan American Center after an absence of nearly two years.

Basketball fans who renew their season tickets or become new season ticket holders before Aug. 15 will receive a souvenir lunchbox that features the jerseys of all former Aggies who have gone on to play in the NBA. The front of the lunchbox features former Aggie great and 2019 NBA champion Pascal Siakam, who is with the Toronto Raptors.

It’s sure to become a collector’s item.

Moccia is certainly optimistic about the upcoming year and the return of home athletic events.

“If we do our part from a competitive standpoint, we could be on the cusp of an all-time record-setting year from a ticketing standpoint,” he said. “People are ready to go to games. They are ready to go out and ready to support (the Aggies). I think it will be a wonderful year.”

This past year, the Aggies did have some success stories, despite dealing with arguably the most restrictive Covid-19 guidelines in the country, which severely limited home games and practice time.

This past spring, for instance, the Aggies were able win WAC regular season championships in softball and men’s and women’s golf.

And that was without the benefit of a full practice and conditioning regimen, Moccia said.

“I think it took a toll at the end of the season and we limped to the end,” he said. “We didn’t have that extra gear when we needed it because we didn’t lay that foundation.”

Now with the benefit of regular practices and the return of home games and contests in all sports, Moccia is expecting big things.

“To be able to play at home means a lot,” he said. “It is a comfort thing. There were student-athletes scrambling to find out who was going to watch their pets when they had to go out of state to play games. There are so many factors that make it easier to play at home.

“You stay in your own bed,” he added “There is familiarity. You are in your own gym, your own pool, your own baseball field. So, I think it will be a tremendous boost to our athletes.”

The bottom line: Aggie fans want to come out to games and “have a party and celebrate,” Moccia said.

For more information about NMSU sports programs, visit nmstatesports.com. You can also call the Pan Am Ticket office at 575-646-1420.