The Border Conference

by Mike Magers

From time to time, the Border Conference is mentioned here and elsewhere.  Its actual name was the  Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association and it was in existence for more than thirty years.  Established in 1931, it ran until it was dissolved after the 1961–62 season. In its fullness, its membership included the following schools:

Arizona (1931–1961)
Arizona State Teachers’-Flagstaff (now Northern Arizona; 1931–1952)
Arizona State Teachers’-Tempe (now Arizona State; 1931–1961)
University of New Mexico (1931–1951)
New Mexico A&M (now New Mexico State; 1931–1961)
Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech; 1932–1956)
Texas Mines (later Texas Western and University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP); 1935–1961)
Hardin-Simmons (1941–1961)
West Texas Teachers’ (later West Texas State and now West Texas A&M; 1941–1961).

The full complement of 9 schools participated roughly for one decade from about 1941 to 1951.  Only three schools were members throughout the entire life, namely the schools now known as University of Arizona, Arizona State and New Mexico State.  During its life, Texas Tech won the greatest number of football titles, taking 9.  In basketball, New Mexico State and University of Arizona hold the most titles with 8 and 7, respectively, with each school holding a streak of 4 consecutive championships.  In several years, there were co-championships, and the conference did not have a conference tournament as some conferences do today.

It was a conference recognized by the NCAA, though for most of its life, the NCAA did not have the division system it has used since about 1973.  It was an interesting conference.  Though it probably had no national championship schools during its existence, it allowed many area athletes a place to complete.  Some of these athletes went on to further careers in sports and we will reference them as we make the connection.

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