South Dakota State's wrestling team has hit the big time. The Jackrabbits are joining the Big 12 Conference for the upcoming season. SDSU is one of six schools to receive an invitation to join the conference as an affiliate member. Air Force, Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming will also make the jump from the Western Wrestling Conference, where the Jacks competed since the start of the 2006-07 season.

In a SDSU press release, Jackrabbit head coach Chris Bono said:

Joining the Big 12 Conference in wrestling is huge for SDSU, our wrestling program and the fans of our program.

We are now in one of the premier conferences in the country, which will bring more attention to our program across the country and let our student-athletes compete against the nation’s best.

The Big 12 Conference now will feature 10 wrestling programs with Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia previously making up the league' roster of teams.

In a Big 12 press release, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said:

We are excited to announce the addition of affiliate members in sports where the league already maintains a strong competition level.

The additional institutions will improve and strengthen what are already strong postseason events for the Big 12.

As an affiliate members, South Dakota State will be immediately eligible to compete for the Big 12 postseason championship and the league’s automatic qualification to NCAA postseason competition. The 2016 Big 12 Wrestling Championship is scheduled for March 5-6 at Sprint Center in Kansas City.

SDSU finished third at the 2015 NCAA West Regional/Western Wrestling Conference Championship and qualified three individual wrestlers for the NCAA Championships.