Change is coming to the University of Houston-Victoria athletic department.
UHV Athletics Director Ashley Walyuchow today announced that the Jaguars will be joining the Red River Athletic Conference beginning with the 2015-16 competition year.
The Jaguars have been a member of the Association of Independent Institutions Conference for the past seven years and will compete in the conference during the 2014-15 season.
"I'm excited for the move," Walyuchow said. "It will ease in scheduling games and the move makes good geographic sense. We won't have to work as hard scheduling a full season as we will only have to fill in around our conference games which will make up the bulk of the schedules.
"Our conference tournament won't take us to all corners of the country any more. We were the only NAIA school in south Texas not in the Red River Conference."
The Jaguars have found plenty of success on the field in the A.i.i. Conference during the past seven years winning two baseball conference championships, two softball conference championships, while earning three berths to the baseball national championships and four to the softball championships. UHV finished as the conference runner-up in baseball in 2011 and 2014.
The UHV men's and women's golf teams have also produced individual conference champions with Vance Edwards winning the men's individual title in 2013 and Heather Shake claiming the women's individual title in 2014. The UHV men's team was also the conference runner-up in 2011.
The UHV men's and women's soccer teams also advanced to the conference championships in 2013.
The Red River began competition in 1998 with 16 charter members. Twelve teams currently comprise the Red River Conference that includes the state of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. The current teams include Bacone College (Okla.), Huston-Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian College, Langston University (Okla.), LSU-Shreveport, Our Lady of the Lake University, Paul Quinn College, Texas College, the University of St. Thomas, the University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of the Southwest (N.M.) and Wiley College. LSU-Alexandria will be leaving the A.i.i. Conference this year to join the RRAC.
"Our student athletes will benefit," said Walyuchow. "I expect that we will see a reduction in the amount of time our student-athletes miss class for game travel. Also, there is excitement when you play a conference game compared to a non-conference game. It adds a new dynamic with the conference schedule that we didn't have in the Aii."
The Jaguars will continue to compete in baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer and men's and women's golf in the RRAC.
Teams competing in the RRAC in baseball will be LSUS, Jarvis Christian, Bacone, Wiley, Texas College, Huston-Tillotson, Southwest, OLLU, LSUA and UHV, while OLLU, Southwest, Bacone, Langston, Huston-Tillotson, Texas College, Jarvis, LSUA and UHV will compete in softball.
Men's and women's soccer will be comprised of Wiley, Jarvis, OLLU, Southwest, Texas College, Huston-Tillotson, LSUA and UHV, while St. Thomas will compete in men's soccer and Bacone in women's soccer.
Teams competing in men's golf with UHV will include Huston-Tillotson, Jarvis, OLLU, and St. Thomas, while on the women's side will be OLLU, Jarvis and St. Thomas.
The Jaguars currently compete against a number of these schools in various sports.
"Over the years, we've developed some good rivalries with some of the Red River schools, Our Lady of the Lake, Huston-Tillotson and the new Red River member LSU-Alexandria and we will be able to keep those going as a conference member," Walyuchow said.