RICHARDSON - The Lone Star Conference will expand to 11 member institutions as league officials announced Thursday Western New Mexico University has accepted an invitation to join the conference in the fall of 2016.

The LSC Council of Presidents voted unanimously in March to offer full membership to Western New Mexico.

"We are extremely pleased to have a program with great athletic and academic traditions in WNMU joining the Lone Star Conference," said Angelo State President Dr. Brian May, chair of the LSC President's Council.

"The move from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference to the Lone Star Conference is to allow our student athletes an opportunity to continue having a great athletic experience, but traveling less to do so," said Joseph Shepard, WNMU President. "The Lone Star Conference has an outstanding history of sportsmanship and competitive play at the Division II national level. We are excited to begin this new chapter in our university's proud collegiate sports' history."

Located in Silver City, New Mexico, WNMU has an enrollment of more than 3,700 students. The Mustangs sponsor 11 NCAA Division II sports (football, volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's basketball, softball, men's and women's tennis).

"We are very excited to welcome Western New Mexico University to the Lone Star Conference," said LSC Interim Commissioner Jay Poerner. "Western New Mexico is a quality institution with great leadership that will further strengthen our membership."

WNMU moved to NCAA Division II in 1993 from the NAIA and has been a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) member since 2006. The Mustangs have had recent success in tennis and golf with six straight men's tennis championships, three of last four women's tennis tournament crowns, two consecutive men's golf titles, and the 2013 women's golf championship.

The addition of WNMU is the second LSC membership change to be announced this year following February's pledge by University of Texas of the Permian Basin. WNMU will be the 30th institution to compete as a member of the 84-year-old LSC.

The LSC, founded on April 25, 1931, started as a five-team conference of Texas-based schools and with WNMU will become a 11-member league with eight members in Texas, one in Oklahoma and two in New Mexico.