Division One Here We Come
UC San Diego Athletics is on the move. A flurry of activity has begun as the university prepares to transition to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 competition on July 1, 2020. Four years ago, students voted unanimously in a referendum to support the move to the Big West Conference, which will garner UC San Diego teams unprecedented national exposure.
This fall, audiences from around the country can tune in to watch men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball compete in home games on ESPN3. Five cameras spread across RIMAC Arena will capture the action and broadcast live on ESPN3’s multi-screen sports network that fans can access online. And beginning in fall 2020, every home game in a total of 10 sports will be produced for distribution on ESPN3 and the Big West Network.
More than 600 student-athletes returned to campus this September to compete in the campus’s 20th and final season of NCAA Division II competition. New merit-based athletic scholarships mean scholar-athletes will receive support for tuition and other educational costs. This allows the university to recruit students who are talented in the classroom and on the field, as well as retain them in the program. Student-athletes consistently maintain a higher average GPA than the student body as a whole, expertly managing study and practice time.
Throughout the year, physical changes will also be seen. New flooring with updated Division I branding will be installed in RIMAC Arena during spring quarter. A new arena sky box with an incomparable view of the court has been enhanced as a space for pregame engagement events. And student-athletes will have access to top on-field and off-field training gear thanks to a new agreement with Under Armour, a Baltimore-based company that produces footwear, apparel and equipment.
All students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members are invited to attend games and cheer on their favorite teams. This year, UC San Diego will host five California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) postseason championship events, including men’s and women’s soccer, basketball and softball. To inspire spirit, King Triton has been making visits to departments across the campus, bearing blue and gold UC San Diego T-shirts, pennants, posters and other giveaways.
Seeing supportive crowds in the stands is a special motivator for scholar-athletes. “Initially coming into college, I was nervous about how I would play since my family wouldn’t be at my games to cheer me on anymore, but as soon as I played the first home game and saw the stands full of people who supported and loved my team, I knew I had a new ‘family’ that would support me just as much,” said Marissa Ray a sophomore forward for the nationally-ranked women’s soccer team. “Seeing people and hearing them cheer me on as I play gives me the extra energy I need to help make an impact on the field with my team, which is why I always have my best games when the stands are full.”
To learn more about UC San Diego Athletics and find game schedules, visit athletics.ucsd.edu.