UCSD Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards
October 25, 2011
What is the status of UCSD's exploration of a move to Division I?
We continue to gather information, communicate with the appropriate parties and do our due diligence in regard to a potential move to NCAA Division I.
It’s public knowledge that we partnered with UCSD’s
Associated Students and UCSD Student Affairs to have an outside consultant do a
feasibility study last year. The document which was submitted provided evidence
that UC San Diego would be a viable candidate for Division I consideration.
We believe that a move to Division I would have numerous benefits, not only for the UC San Diego Athletic program but the University in general and would position us with like institutions from size and academic perspectives.
This past summer, the NCAA lifted a four-year moratorium on accepting applications from institutions interested in moving up to the Division I level. One of the new criteria is that all applicants must have a standing invitation for membership from an existing Division I conference. In the case of UC San Diego, the most logical conference affiliation would be with the Big West Conference which currently includes four other UC schools—UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Davis and UC Riverside.
For many years, the Big West has consisted of nine members. Last December, in the wake of the first round of chaotic conference-swapping in Division I football, the Big West, somewhat unexpectedly, accepted University of Hawaii as a new member, bringing their membership to 10 and decreasing their immediate interest in adding any other new schools.
Our focus now is on maintaining communication with the key stakeholders in this process and being ready to respond if and when the timing is right and we determine an option is available that fits our objectives. Given the ongoing fragile state of all Division I football conferences and the trickle-down effect, changes at the top tend to resonate throughout the collegiate landscape. You never know what might happen and have to be prepared to act quickly when opportunities present themselves.
We are working to be ready to do just that.