UTRGV Vaqueros to join Southland Conference in 2024

By Kevin Kelley -

The UTRGV Vaqueros have accepted an invitation to join the Southland Conference (SLC) in 2024, the school announced on Monday.

UTRGV will officially depart the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and will join the Southland Conference on July 1, 2024. The Vaqueros will compete in the Southland in football, baseball, volleyball, women’s soccer, basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track & field. Future conference plans for men’s soccer and women’s swimming & diving will be determined later.

“Our acceptance into the Southland Conference is a testament to the growth and success UTRGV has experienced since we opened in 2015,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said. “On behalf of UTRGV, I would like to thank the Southland Conference and fellow university presidents for their unwavering support. As we embark on this new journey, we look forward to forging new rivalries and celebrating remarkable academic achievements, a reflection of our shared commitment to excellence both on and off the field. Together, we stand poised to elevate the standards of collegiate athletics while nurturing the academic aspirations of our student-athletes.”

UTRGV recently started its football program and is set to play its first official season in 2025. This fall the program will play a practice season that will not count in NCAA standings or records.

“Our move to the Southland Conference marks a meaningful day as we look to bolster the student-athlete experience,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. “Electing to move conferences is a significant decision that requires a great deal of consideration. The Southland Conference is steeped in tradition, and we couldn’t be more excited about joining the league and doing our part to add to its over 60 years of tradition.

“There are many benefits that this move will bring to our student-athletes, fans, and alumni. The Southland Conference is positioned in a tight footprint between Texas and Louisiana. This will allow our student-athletes to spend less time traveling cross-country and more time at home training, recovering, and preparing for competition and will significantly reduce missed class time. With significantly reduced travel, there will be cost savings that allow our department to reinvest in the student-athlete experience in ways we haven’t been able to before.”

With the addition of UTRGV, the SLC will increase to nine football members. UTRGV joins Houston Christian, Incarnate Word, Lamar, McNeese, Nicholls, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, and Texas A&M-Commerce.

“We are delighted to welcome the Vaqueros and their rich tradition of athletic and academic excellence to the Southland Conference,” Southland Conference Commissioner Chris Grant exclaimed. “In an era where too many college athletes are pushed beyond reasonable limits by travel related to away games, we are proud to add another great institution to our ‘gas tank league’ featuring rich competition that is easily accessible to our student-athletes, families, and fans. We are thrilled to welcome an incredible institution that strengthens our league and its members while continuing to support and enhance the student-athlete experience.”

Future UTRGV Football Schedules

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Comments (13)

Remember when a bunch of schools left the Southland to join the WAC? Well now, they will be the 3rd school to move from the WAC to Southland since 2022 (Lamar, UIW, now UTRGV).
I wonder if Stephen F. Austin, Abilene Christian, Tarleton, and UTA will consider moving to the Southland as well, and in SFA’s, ACU’s, and UTA’s case, a return.

Do the WAC and UAC, knowing the latter wants to go FBS, go after the Montana schools in the Big Sky, both long linked to FBS jumps?

Z-Man you are becoming Steven A. Smith of FBS Schedules & you are the most outspoken person on this web page.

With that monetary increase to jump to the FBS, very few teams will likely ever make that jump again. Not to mention a school having to have an invitation to a conference. The Power Four have all but broken away from the Group of Five and, eventually, it will be a complete and total split. Maybe a conference, or conglomeration, will combine to make a collective jump. But expecting 8-10 teams to make a simultaneous jump seems a pipe dream.

New York Jets have traded their 10th overall pick to Green Bay Packers & with 10th pick in 2024 NFL Draft Green Bay Packers select Terrion Arnold Cornerback Alabama.

Cleveland Browns have traded their 85th overall pick to Green Bay Packers & with 85th pick in 2024 NFL Draft Green Bay Packers select Calen Bullock Safety USC.

For a fledging football program in a very isolated location, a move to the Southland should help to decrease travel costs and will decrease travel times for student athletes. All of the conference opponents – both football and non-football – will be in the same time zone.

Even so, it is several hours’ travel time between UTRGV and its nearest football-playing member, UIW.

Houston Christian Fan welcomes UTRGV Vaqueros to Southland Conference.

Houston Christian Jalyx Hunt is My favorite Edge Rusher prospect in this year’s NFL Draft & would like to see My Eagles to give back 22nd overall pick to Red Birds(Cardinals) for 27th,66th & 104th overall picks & Eagles to select Hunt at pick #66.

Correction I have Jalyx Hunt going 57th overall to My Eagles & Eagles give back 50th & 55th overall picks to Dolphins & Buccaneers for next year 2025 third round picks by both teams in my latest update in My mock NFL Draft.

God’s blessings to everybody for a safe & happy Easter.

This was at least a decade too long for it to happen. I am very supportive of the move. I think the Southland would have to press really hard for UTA or ACU to make a comeback as I think the Southland would like to get to 12 members.