January 3, 2018
Q: Will you give us an update on the move to the Big West Conference and NCAA Division I?
A: UC San Diego officially announced on November 27, 2018, that it will begin a journey to join the Big West Conference in 2020 and become a participant in NCAA Division I athletics.
Elevation to NCAA Division I athletics is a reflection of UC San Diego’s culture of risk-taking, collaboration, and innovation. Aligning with peer institutions and competing at the highest levels in all endeavors is one of the reasons for the transition to Division I. We are extremely excited to be joining the Big West Conference with its strong history of success in a broad base of sports.
Division I athletics will also provide many opportunities to positively impact the culture of the UC San Diego campus, allowing us to continue our proud tradition of academic and athletic excellence at the highest level. The move to Division I supports increased engagement with our 185,000-plus alumni, strengthening their connection to the University. In addition, the transition will foster stronger relationships with the San Diego community and help elevate recognition of our University’s outstanding education and research on local, regional, and national scales.
2018-2020: UC San Diego remains Division II while implementing infrastructure needed for success at Division I. Two sports — men’s volleyball and women’s water polo — begin Big West participation before Fall 2020. Men’s volleyball is currently participating in the Big West Conference and women’s water polo will be a full member of the conference in 2019.
Fall 2020: The Tritons begin a full Big West Conference competitive schedule.
2020-2024: UC San Diego’s mandated four-year reclassification period, during which it cannot compete in postseason play with the exception of National Collegiate sports (men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s water polo, and men's and women's fencing). The reason for the exception is that these teams are already eligible to compete in their championships.
Fall 2024: UC San Diego will be a full member of the Big West and eligible to compete for all conference and NCAA championships.