There are nearly 350 NCAA Division I schools across the United States.

The UTRGV Department of Intercollegiate Athletics ranks 20th in the country in total community service hours among NCAA DI programs.

Altogether, UTRGV student-athletes from 16 different sports completed 1,526 hours of community service this year in the Rio Grande Valley, attending 63 events for 23 different organizations.

UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said the rankings reflect how much UTRGV’s student-athletes have given back to the Valley.

“We are proud of our student-athletes’ extraordinary efforts in the community,” Conque said. “I think these rankings help show just how much our student-athletes care about the Valley. We are always thankful for opportunities to give back to the community.”

Five different UTRGV athletics programs rank among the top 10 in DI in their respective sports.

The UTRGV men’s soccer team led all men’s soccer teams in the nation with 120 hours of community service, including 40 hours with the Edinburg Cares Food Drive.

The UTRGV men’s golf team ranks third among men’s golf programs and 64th overall among DI sports programs with 144 hours of community service, an average of 14 hours per student-athlete, which includes 42 hours with Food Bank RGV.

The women’s golf team is fifth among women’s golf programs and 57th overall with a department-high average of 17 hours per student-athlete, and 28 hours with the Edinburg Parks and Recreation Center.

The UTRGV men’s track and field and cross country programs rank fourth among such programs with 114 hours of community service, while the UTRGV women’s track and field and cross country programs rank 10 with more than 161 community service hours, including 38 hours with the Special Olympics of South Texas. The UTRGV baseball team completed the most total hours with 364.

UTRGV student-athletes spent a department-high 282 hours at Edinburg Children’s Hospital. In 208 hours with the Food Bank RGV, UTRGV student-athletes helped to prepare close to 14,500 meals.

Among the other community organizations served are the City of Edinburg, which includes Edinburg Parks & Recreation (224 hours), the Special Olympics of South Texas (180 hours), and the Edinburg Boys & Girls Clubs (136 hours).

UTRGV athletics’ community service efforts have continued during the coronavirus pandemic as the department recently donated more than $4,000 worth of food to the UTRGV Student Food Pantry, which supports currently enrolled students experiencing hunger or food insecurity.