Sources: UT Rio Grande Valley set to exit WAC for Southland


Officials from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley informed the Western Athletic Conference the school is leaving for the Southland Conference, sources told ESPN.

The change is expected for the 2024-25 season, sources told ESPN, and the WAC exit fee for UTRGV is expected to be $2 million.

In a statement Wednesday night, the UT Rio Grande Valley athletics department said there is “nothing definitive to announce today,” adding, “As you know this is a dynamic time in college athletics with exciting opportunities for our university. We are always evaluating ways we can enhance the competitive experience for our student-athletes and improve their overall well-being.”

UTRGV has been tied to the WAC since 2013, when the school joined the league when it was known as the University of Texas-Pan American. (UTRGV opened under that name in 2015, after UT Pan-American merged with UT-Brownsville.)

The Southland offers some geographic sensibilities, as it includes schools like A&M Corpus Christi, Lamar and Texas A&M Commerce. UTRGV leaves a league that included Grand Canyon, Seattle University and Utah Valley.

UTRGV struggled recently for competitiveness, as both the men’s and women’s basketball programs finished last in the WAC in 2023-24. The men’s basketball team went 6-25 this season under coach Matt Figger.

There’s some strong history dating back to the program’s Pan-American days, as former coaches include Lon Kruger and Abe Lemons. In more than a half-century of Division I seasons, the school has never reached the NCAA tournament in men’s basketball.

UTRGV has formed a football program that’s slated to begin formal play in 2025.

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