UC San Diego is on its way to becoming a Division I school.
The university said Nov. 27 it is joining the Big West Conference, which sets it up for reclassification as National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I.
UCSD undergraduates in 2016 voted in favor of more than doubling student athletics fees to fund the Tritons’ move to NCAA Division I.
The Big West Conference includes four UC schools, four Cal State schools and Hawaii. In addition to UCSD, CSU Bakersfield was also invited to join the Big West Conference Nov. 27.
“We believe that this move will enhance the overall student experience at UC San Diego and heighten our sense of community and school pride,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.
The transition will take place over six years, including an NCAA-required four-year transition period starting in mid-2020, before the university will be eligible for postseason competition.
Dennis Farrell, commissioner of the Big West, said UCSD students and administration had done a “remarkable job” positioning the university for reclassification.
“The university's academic and athletic profiles are closely aligned with those of Division I institutions and thus UC San Diego will be a marvelous addition to the Big West Conference,” Farrell said. “It's a real honor for the Big West to welcome such a prestigious academic institution to the family.”
Two UCSD sports will join the conference early: men’s volleyball this year and women’s water polo the next. Eventually, the university will field Big West teams in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field and women’s volleyball.