UC San Diego putting Division I to a vote

Updated: February 1, 2016

UC San Diego could be going Division I. An article by Kriti Sarin in the UCSD Guardian last week outlined the plan for students to vote during Week 8 of this quarter (I’m thinking like late February or early March?) on whether to increase student fees by $289.38 per quarter, though that rate would be gradually worked-up to over the course of three years.

As a UCSD alumnus and someone who watches a lot of Big West Conference sports (the conference the Tritons would presumably compete in), this is very exciting.

TritonsI loved my time at UCSD. I’m proud of the high academic standards there. Being so close to the beach was amazing.

During my sophomore year at UCSD, the Tritons made the move from Division III to Division II. With the facilities and wide array of sports that UCSD offered, the move didn’t seem like a huge step at all. Now, with a Division I opportunity looming, the Tritons could continue to raise their profile.

While they probably can’t make any guarantees or promises until the Division I move is complete, the Big West Conference would be an ideal landing spot for the Tritons.

In 2013, the conference thought it had San Diego State lined-up before the Aztecs pulled out of the agreement. Currently, the West Coast Conference (Univeristy of San Diego) and Mountain West Conference (San Diego State) have schools in the second-largest city in California. The Big West would be crazy not to covet UCSD as the tenth team in the conference — which currently has nine members for sports like men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball.

If you’re wondering whether schools like UCSD are already Division I, the answer is yes. Well-established, long-standing Division I athletics programs like Cal and UCLA aside, the Big West actually holds four UC schools that are much like UCSD in many ways. UC Irvine is the geographically closest. UCSB is a long-time Division I program. UC Riverside is the team UCSD replaced in the CCAA in 2001 and UC Davis was a brief CCAA Division II rival before the Aggies made the jump in 2004.

Six of the nine University of California campuses not in San Diego are Division I already. Do you think UCSD most resembles UC Merced, UC San Francisco, and UC Santa Cruz? Or, does UC San Diego look a little more like UCI, UCSB, UC Riverside and UC Davis?

With an enrollment of more than 30,000, UCSD is already at a place in-line with other Big West schools. The campus is the best in San Diego. The facilities are D-1 ready — most are better than some of the current facilities at some Big West schools.

When I talk to friends who went to schools like UCSB, UC Davis, or even Cal Poly, one thing I’m constantly reminded of is the student life aspect surrounding being able to attend Division I games and rooting for my school. It’s the only thing about my decision to attend UCSD that I might go back and do differently.

I’m hoping to explore the current climate at UCSD from student and staff perspectives in the electronic pages of this website in the next few months, but in the mean time, it’s time. Let’s do it. Division I.


The Big West had four RPI top-100 teams in basketball this past season.  It also had five sub-200 teams.  The last thing we need is another sub-200 program who will increase the number of conference games played for all sports.   If UC San Diego joins by themselves that is exactly what will happen and we move further away from producing an at-large bid in basketball.  Nobody wants that.

The best outcome for everyone would be expansion to 12 with UCSD joining as a package deal with New Mexico State and a Grand Canyon or someone of that ilk.  We need ore representation outside of California.

fansmanship moderator

@jdgaucho Sorry I hadn't read this yet, but thanks for reading and for your comment. Interesting ideas. I'm not sure that UCSD would be an automatic sub-200 team in the long-term. I'm sure the other 5 fanbases would contend that they also won't be sub-200 teams in the long term. 

Each year is different. I'm sure an evened-out travel schedule would be way better in some ways when it comes to most sports. It may not be great for hoops right away conference-wide, but I think over time it could be a benefit. At least for Cal Poly, I'd rather have them play a transitioning UCSD than like Bethesda or CSU Monterey Bay or Hope International....

Hope you listen to the podcast I did with Ken Grosse at UCSD and thanks again for reading.



Don't get me wrong. I will gladly welcome UC San Diego with open arms if they pass their vote. They absolutely belong in the Big West. Plus their athletic department WANTS to be with us. I'm just concerned about them dragging us (the conference) down in the short-term as we are knocking on the door of producing an at-large bid.

Currently there are 16 conference games. If you only bring in a 10th member that number increases to 18 games. As someone who follows Cal Poly you should know full well that playing UC Riverside, CSUN, UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton twice each does not exactly help the cause. Now throw UCSD into the picture and that's over half the conference slate dragging you down. Oh, and let's not forget reinforcing the bus league image which we suffer greatly from.

Hence the desire for 12 members, which includes at least one more non-CA school with decent hoops tradition (New Mexico State?), to offset UCSD's adjustment to D1. They may not like that but it's really the best outcome for us.

fansmanship moderator

@jdgaucho I understand. I guess it depends on where those two games come from right? Cal Poly played both CSU Monterey Bay and Univ. of Antelope Valley this year... I would rather play home/home with even a transitioning D1 team. BUT, if they're playing UCSD instead of UCLA or UNLV or whatever then yeah, I'd say it's a potential issue. It's a short term one though IMO. Happy Friday!