So my plan for this week's Double Bonus was to take a look at Division II schools that may be looking to make the jump to Division I sooner or later. In doing my research....WHAT!?!? Hold on! The WAC has a new member? UTRGV? Who is this mysterious UTRGV, where did they come from, and why do they have the longest acronym in college sports?
Another question arose, WHAT HAPPENED TO TEXAS PAN AMERICAN? Where is Bucky the Bronc? What the heck is going on!?!?
After some quick google research the news got even worse on Wikipedia when I ran across this nugget:
"The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) was a state university located in Edinburg, Texas."
Was? What happened? Before I go any farther I'm totally dumbfounded that I hadn't heard about this before. Our staff here at MMM has daily conversations about mid-majors that boarders on insane. New logo, floor, coach...we know about it rather quickly and discuss it. Somehow UTPA's death slipped under the radar. So back to what happened...
Apparently UTPA has merged with University of Texas Brownsville to form UTRGV or University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. This was planned quite some time ago but this year's entering class is the first to officially be part of UTRGV.
Brownsville was an NAIA school so basically the whole athletics component for UTPA is now under a new name. No more Broncs as everyone is now a Vaquero or "a horse-mounted livestock herder of a tradition that originated on the Iberian Peninsula" according to the google machine. UTB and the Ocelots are no more.
The biggest coup regarding this whole thing is UTPA's acquisition of the UTB chess team as "The University of Texas at Brownsville is widely regarded for having one of the strongest Chess Programs in the nation. In 2010, they placed 2nd in the Final Four of College Chess, which they hosted.".
UTPA always held a special place in my heart as one of the struggling independents of the 2000s traveling to Virginia, North Dakota, and Seattle during the late basketball months. So when you get a chance this week pour a little out for good ole Bucky the Bronc.