EDINBURG — It’s all happening.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved an increase to Intercollegiate Athletics Fees at UTRGV, as voted on by student referendum, to support the creation of a football program and expansion of spirit programs during a meeting on Thursday in Austin.
The green-light from the UT System Board of Regents gives UTRGV the final go-ahead to launch its football program.
The UTRGV student body passed the athletics fee referendum last November with a vote of 3,497 to 2,287 in support for the creation of a football program, women’s swimming and diving teams, a marching band and expanded spirit programs.
“Really pleased, really excited for our student body, for our university and excited for our region,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said Thursday. “It’s hard to believe it’s been a year ago we went through the referendum with our students and almost a year ago to the day (we) celebrated a successful student vote. To have this final milestone from that process be captured today in Austin (is) really excited.”
The approval means an $11.25 per credit hour increase, capped at 12 hours, beginning in the fall of 2023 that will help support spirit, football, marching band and women’s swimming and diving programs. The increase in the intercollegiate athletics fee will be for new incoming students and graduating students who return for another degree.
UTRGV football will compete at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level beginning in Fall 2025. Conque said one of the next parts of the process is finding the right coaches to help build the football and women’s swimming and diving programs from the ground up.
“I wouldn’t say the real work begins now, but there’s still a lot of work ahead of us. This has been a long process and will continue to be a process and a journey,” Conque said. “We’ve had tremendous partnerships with our entire university community. Dr. Maggie Hinojosa, who helped co-sponsor the proposal to the Student Government Association last August, her and her team, Student Government Association, so to be able to celebrate with them this moment tomorrow and in the coming weeks and months, it’s very special.”
Conque went on to say that a “four-prong approach” has now been activated with as many new programs being impacted.
“Obviously we have two in athletics with football and swimming and diving, but marching band and spirit, we’ve made some progress there in our spirit programs and we’ll report on that tomorrow,” he added. “Very similar for us, it’s finding leaders for those two programs. One thing I think we’ve done very well is built in really good timelines and runways to be able to hit the mark with swim and dive in 2024, practice year for football that year, and then kickoff in 2025.
“In the coming months, we’ll hire leaders for those two programs, give those coaches ample runway to be able to build their staff and be able to recruit their student-athletes, all gearing up for the fall of 2024 with swim and dive and then fall of 2025 for football.”
UTRGV athletics will host a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday morning at the UTRGV campus in Edinburg.