UC San Diego Students Vote To Fund Move To Division I

Undergraduate students at the University of California San Diego voted to raise student athletic fees, the first step in the long process of jumping from the NCAA’s Division II to Division I.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that students voted to more than double their student athletics fees (the amount built into student tuition that helps fund a school’s athletic department) in order to help UCSD make the leap, with almost 70% of students supporting the move.

The Union-Tribune said the results “could be a historic vote,” especially after two previous votes to move to Division I failed. The most recent was in 2012 – that proposal saw 51% of the student population vote, while the current vote included only 35% of eligible voters, according to The Union-Tribune.

The vote is only one step in what would be a long adjustment process – the current target wouldn’t see UCSD as full-fledged Division I members until 2023 at the earliest.

The increase in student fees is contingent on UCSD earning an invitation to the Big West Conference. The school applied in 2010 but was passed over for Hawaii. Now, 7 of 9 Big West schools must accept UCSD’s application for the process to continue moving forward.

From there, UCSD must spend two years increasing their scholarship amounts from Division II levels to the levels required for NCAA Division I application. The school must then apply with the NCAA and eventually begin the 4-year process of joining Division I – that process includes a period where the school’s athletes are not eligible to compete at Division I NCAAs.

The move to Division I would cap a fast rise for the school’s athletic program, which jumped from Division III to Division II back in the 1990s.

The Triton swimming & diving program currently competes in the Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC), where they have won 8 consecutive conference titles in both genders.

UCSD would have to find a separate conference for swimming & diving, as the Big West hasn’t offered swimming since 2010. Most of the former Big West swimming & diving programs have moved over to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

Though The Union-Tribune reports that UCSD – which doesn’t have a football program – would face major challenges in some sports, like basketball, with a move to Division I, the swimming & diving program would currently be pretty competitive in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

UCSD competed against a number of Division I programs at last year’s A3 Invite in November, finishing 5th of 14 teams on the women’s side and 4th out of 8 on the men’s side.

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Good school, great climate, awesome facilities – depending on conference and funding it’s a powerhouse in the making.


I don’t see it….they struggled in D2


agree, give them time to prove it !


I meant, I agree with Aquabullet. I don’t agree that they have struggled in D2. As the article says both the men and women have won their conference for the last 8 years by significant margins. The UCSD women were third this year at D2 NCAAs despite losing a projected multiple event and relay scoring swimmer to a serious illness just before the meet. In 2015, the entire team caught a intestinal virus from food while at NCAAs which kind of decimated the team in a year that both the men and women had a good chance to score well . They have been consistently ranked high in the D2 coaches polls. The men have had NCAA D2 Champions in… Read more »


Did I miss something?
Cal State Northridge cut swimming 6 or 7 years ago, I think.
Big West doesn’t have swimming.
Mountain West has SDSU, Nevada, Boise State, New Mexico, UNLV, Wyoming, CSU, AFA, SJSU…
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) has Cal Poly, Pacific, UC Davis, UCSB, Hawaii, San Diego, BYU…

Is UCSD asking in at MPSF or Mountain West?

Brad Flood

OMG, just another example of chasing the “green” on the other side of the fence, that doesn’t exist! Bad move, BAD move! Better to be a BIG fish in a small pond, than an almost non-existent fish in a HUGE ocean! Having coached at both DII and DI, with the DI experience ranging between 3 Major conferences (Big 10, SWC & ACC) to a small mid-major that had converted from DII to DI 9 years prior to my arrival (and we scored 24th at Men’s 2001 NCAA meet), I can attest that these schools looking to go DI in hopes of getting a piece of the BIG $$$ pie, are chasing a pipe dream! And I’m not just talking about… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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