Jags look at potential switch to A&M

Stephen Herzog

March 8, 2011 at 8:04 p.m.
Updated March 7, 2011 at 9:08 p.m.

If the proposed bill to move the University of Houston-Victoria to the Texas-A&M system goes through, it will mean a new school name, and probably a new mascot, too.

UHV, which has been a four-year program for less than a year, could be in for another big change if Rep. Geanie Morrison's bill is passed.

Morrison, R-Victoria, filed legislation Tuesday to move UHV into the Texas A&M University system.

"Everything's still the status quo," said UHV athletic director Ashley Walyuchow. "It's too early to tell how it would affect athletics."

Walyuchow knew the deadline to file was Friday, but hadn't heard about the news of the filing until after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

"If something were to happen, if we were to switch systems, I don't know for sure whether or not that would result in a new nickname or color," he said.

He expected it would mean a new nickname, however, because there's already a school in the system, Texas A&M-San Antonio, that's called the Jaguars.

That would, in turn, mean new uniforms. And there's of course a cost associated with that.

"We just went through a cycle of new uniforms with baseball and softball," he said. "Soccer just had brand new uniforms. That's a financial cost we wouldn't have anticipated."

But despite what changes may occur, Walyuchow doesn't believe it will change much for the athletics department in the short term.

During a switch, jobs should be protected, so they aren't expecting any turnover.

"Obviously if the bill were to pass there would be some changes in how we do things, but I don't think it would affect the day-to-day operations," he said.

One thing that could potentially be affected in the long run is facilities for athletics.

At least that's what many people in the department are hoping.

"I am for whatever system promotes the athletic program," UHV baseball coach Terry Puhl said. "Without our own athletic fields, we're just spinning our tires. That's not fair to the athletes."

Walyuchow said that's a sentiment shared by coaches in all collegiate athletics.

"It would impact our recruiting," he said. "If a switch would bring new facilities, it would benefit our program."

But he said he's not sure how that would work, logistically.

"We're already looking at budget cuts," he said. "I'm not sure where money would magically appear from."

And while there are a lot of questions still unanswered, now isn't necessarily the time for them to be answered.

"We're still going forward through the season and planning for future seasons," Walyuchow said. "If there's a change we'll have to see how we fit into the system's plans and how athletics fit into those goals. But it's tough to tell at this moment."

But if there is a change, all the decisions will have to be made quickly. If the bill passes, the switch would go into effect on Sept. 1.



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