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UC San Diego Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards

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October 12, 2017
Q: Can you bring us up to date with the move to NCAA Division I?

A: In May of 2016, the UC San Diego Student vote on the referendum to move to Division I passed overwhelmingly with 70% in favor and the Faculty vote (December 2016) was approved at 62%. We were confident that UC San Diego would be accepted as new members in the Big West Conference. But as many of you know, the Big West denied our membership application this past spring due to their unwillingness to expand at that time.

Since the Big West vote, Chancellor Khosla and I have been meeting with the Big West Commissioner and his assistant to discuss the next steps. The Chancellor has also been talking to the UC Presidents and others to get them to reconsider their vote. We are anticipating that the next vote will be sometime between now and September 2018. The September 2018 date is when the Student Referendum for the move to DI expires. There are nine schools in the Big West; four UCs (UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Davis), four state schools (Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly), and the University of Hawaii. We need seven of these nine schools to vote in favor of accepting UC San Diego into the Big West Conference.

Assuming that we do get accepted into the Big West, the timeline will be that our first year of competition (in the Big West) as a program will be Fall of 2020. The reason for the delay in joining is that there’s a three-year cycle of funding from the student fees that’s needed to compete at the DI level. We won’t start collecting student fees until the Fall of 2018.

As a footnote, our DI Men’s Volleyball team is an “Associate Member” of the Big West starting this year. Looking ahead, our women’s water polo team, who also currently competes at the Division I level, has the potential to join the Big West in 2018.


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