UTEP Not Moving Any Time Soon (October 2021)

Miners, then and now, gathered recently for a campus reunion highlighted by a banquet and dramatic photo presentation. John Paul Young (left) was an all-conference lineman before a storied coaching career at several major colleges along with the NFL Oilers and Saints. Athletic Director Jim Senter spoke with candor to the group about the realities of UTEP’s athletic stature.  

UTEP Athletic Director Jim Senter need not look far for advice. Forever and always, Miners fans are eager to tell him how to do his job. This has never been truer than since Oklahoma and Texas recently announced their departure from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference. Fans wonder aloud what this means to the Miners and whether they might be changing conferences. 
 
Short answer: Not any time soon, if ever.
 
In terms of season ticket sales, donations, games watched on satellite TVs, road game attendance and UTEP is a middling member of Conference USA, Senter says. Our favorite school has miles and miles to cover before it becomes shiny and attractive enough to merit an invitation to dance elsewhere.
 
What about the Rocky Mountain West, where UTEP once played vs. the likes of Colorado State, New Mexico, Wyoming and others? BYU, Utah and the two Arizona schools have long since fled for higher ground, Senter points out, but even among those Mountain West holdovers, UTEP ranks “near the bottom” in several metrics, including how many fans pay to watch the Miners via play on ESPN + and other networks. 
 
Fans might also be surprised to learn that among Mountain West schools, most boast of campus facilities that outshine UTEP’s. Most of us do not travel to out-of-town games, so these observations escape our biased eyes.
 
“Just got to win,” says Senter. “In every sport, winning is important. But winning – in football — is the key.”

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