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Study Recommends UC San Diego
Athletics Program Transition to Division I

March 14, 2011

By Christine Clark

Photo of DrEricson
The UCSD Baseball team won a second consecutive NCAA West Regional Championship in 2010.

A recent study assessing the University of California San Diego’s Intercollegiate Athletics program recommended the university reclassify from the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II to Division I. Initiated by the Associated Students (AS), the  student government on campus, the study also reviewed the potential feasibility of adding a football team and determined the campus does not have the resources to support the sport.

Students will determine whether UC San Diego will make the transition, as the Intercollegiate Athletics program at UC San Diego is funded by student fees. UC San Diego’s AS led the campaign during the 2009-10 academic year to explore the possibility of adding a football team and/or moving to Division I.

“The idea was introduced by students as a suggestion to improve campus life,” said Utsav Gupta, 2009-10 AS president. “We partnered with campus leadership to secure a consultant to tell us what would be feasible. Now that the study has come out, we have a tremendous opportunity to explore taking the university and its athletics to the next level.”

Photo of DrEricson
Sara Spaventa, who helped guide the UCSD women's soccer team to a national runner-up finish in 2010, was also named to the All-Academic Team on Feb. 22, 2011.

According to UC San Diego Director of Athletics Earl Edwards, “The university is aware that transitioning to Division I in a time when we’re facing major California state budget cuts presents challenges. The feasibility study provided some insight as to what those challenges would be,” he said. “We’re here to support the students and are responsive to their needs, but ultimately they will decide if they want their university to make the transition at this point in time.”    
The feasibility study, conducted by Athletics Staffing and Consultants (ACS), recommended UC San Diego join Division I as a non-football sponsoring institution (I-AAA) and join the Big West Conference  with similar institutions such as UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara.

The study evaluated the resources needed for personnel, scholarships, operations and facilities for the transition and made the recommendation to reclassify to a NCAA Division I program without football based on the following findings:

    • UC San Diego has nearly 30,000 students compared to the Division II average of 3,071 students;
    • UC San Diego’s academic profile, enrollment numbers, geographic proximity and cost of attendance are in very close alignment with the members of the Big West conference;
    • The Big West institutions compare very favorably with the high academic standards of UC San Diego;
    • Currently, UC San Diego’s facilities meet the standards of a Division I school and the Big West conference (but upgrades would have to made to the baseball facility). 

Edwards added, “Intercollegiate athletics is not only an important part of the UC San Diego college experience for students, our program promotes excellence, strength of character, teamwork, ethical conduct and diversity in our student athletes.”

UC San Diego is one of the premier NCAA Division II athletics programs in the nation.  Recently, the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) ranked UC San Diego as the top Division II institution in the country in its annual Collegiate Power Rankings.

Consistently, more than 55 percent of student-athletes earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and above-university-average academic standing, placing them on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

To learn more about UC San Diego’s athletics program, go to: http://www.ucsdtritons.com/ and to view the study go here: http://as.ucsd.edu/docs/UCSDFINALFEASIBILITY.pdf


Media Contact: Christine Clark, 858-534-7618, or ceclark@ucsd.edu

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