Thursday was a monumental day for the WAC, as the conference at long last announced four additions and its intent to re-launch football beginning in 2022.
But that wasn’t all.
UT-Rio Grande Valley, a WAC member in Olympic sports, announced its intent to launch an FCS football program by no later than 2024, according to an email obtained by Texas Football.
UTRGV was created in 2013 when the Texas legislature combined UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American and now consists of multiple campuses with 26,000 students spread across the Texas-Mexico border. (UTRGV athletics operate out of its Edinburg campus, home of the former UT-Pan American campus. The McAllen-Edinburg metro area, located in Hidalgo County along Texas’s southern border, is home to an estimated 800,000 people.)
The school enrolled its first class of UTRGV students in 2015 and has considered launching football nearly ever since. The school commissioned a feasibility study in 2016 led by Mack Brown.
But with four neighbors set to join the WAC, the school feels now is the time to launch Vaquero football.
“I cannot overstate my level of excitement in making this expansion announcement,” said Hurd, “The opportunity to bring five quality institutions into the conference, to significantly strengthen the WAC’s national basketball brand and other championship sport profiles, and to bring football back under the WAC umbrella is one that made sense.”
“The end result could not have been accomplished without the collaboration and shared visions of the WAC’s Board of Directors and the Presidents of the incoming institutions. It not only stabilizes the conference for the future; it also positions it for significant growth and success.”
The additions will see this new 13-team league split into two divisions, one consisting entirely of Texas schools. The WAC previously added Tarleton State to pair with ACU, Lamar, SHSU, SFA and UTRGV.
The WAC says it is looking for one more football-playing school, most likely in Texas.
With the coming addition of UTRGV, the state of Texas will be home to 22 Division I football programs.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.