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UCSD Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards

Ask the AD for September 16, 2014


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Q:  The University recently announced changes as far as the athletic scholarship structure is concerned. Can you provide some detail and what it might mean for your program in the future?

A:  As those associated with our program are aware, for the past seven years UC San Diego has offered all student-athletes on each of our 23 teams a $500 scholarship. This structure was put in place to allow us to meet new NCAA Division II requirements for minimum athletic scholarship support. While this level of funding let us cover NCAA obligations, it did not change the fact that we were still the only institution in our conference and a rarity among D-II schools nationally in that we did not offer traditional athletic aid.

In 2013-14 with the approval of UCSD’s Academic Senate, our scholarship program headed in a new, positive direction. There are two primary elements to the new structure. First, coaches will have the opportunity to use the scholarship money currently provided in the fashion that they feel best fits their individual teams. Although the dollar amounts now available will be utilized as partial scholarships, we expect this support will be a valuable piece in attracting the highest level of student-athletes—reflective of the overall excellence of the University.

The equally important second facet will be that, for the first time, teams will be able to fund-raise money that can be directed towards athletic scholarships, meaning that they can augment the amount presently allotted for this purpose. We have already found that many donors are enthusiastic about having the opportunity to support student-athletes and our program in this manner and anticipate that number to grow exponentially over time.

These changes will not only allow us to be more competitive now and into the future, but will help make UC San Diego more affordable for student-athletes from low-income and underserved areas. In keeping with the strong academic tradition of UC San Diego Athletics, the new scholarship format will not change admissions standards and includes guidelines that require student-athletes to maintain GPA standards above those mandated by the NCAA. For the last seven years, we have been the No. 1-ranked Division II school in the NCSA’s Power Rankings, based on student-athlete graduation rates, academic strength and athletic prowess. As a result of its student-athlete graduation rate, UC San Diego was awarded the NCAA Presidents’ Award in 2014. We want to be sure that as our department improves competitively, we maintain that level of performance on the academic front.

Overall, I believe this is going to be a significant asset to UC San Diego, not only from an athletic perspective but by creating entry points for donors who will eventually benefit multiple programs across campus.

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