Artist's rendering of planning sports arena at Cal State San Marcos. Image courtesy CSUSM
Artist’s rendering of planned sports arena at Cal State San Marcos. Image courtesy CSUSM

California State University San Marcos announced Monday that it has applied for NCAA Division II status and plans to build a 1,400-seat, multipurpose arena.

Cougars athletic teams have competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics — a separate organization outside of the NCAA — for 15 years.

If the application is accepted next month, the transition would take place over a three-year period beginning in fall 2015, according to the school, which made the announcements in its semiannual Steps magazine. CSUSM would become eligible for NCAA post-season events in the 2017-18 academic year.

The attraction for CSUSM is in joining the California Collegiate Athletic Association, which encompasses a dozen public universities in California, including UC San Diego.

“CSUSM Athletics is ready to take that next step in the department’s competitive growth,” said CSUSM Director of Athletics Jennifer Milo. “That next step for us is becoming a part of the NCAA Division II as a member. Our coaches, staff and student-athletes have worked extremely hard to build a strong foundation that will give us the opportunity to have an immediate impact in the NCAA and the CCAA.”

The men’s basketball team was ranked No. 1 in the NAIA most of the last season, but lost in the national quarterfinals in March. That performance, with only one regular-season loss, came while playing home games in the MiraCosta College gymnasium in Oceanside.

The planned arena would host men’s and women’s basketball games, volleyball contests, campus recreation and community events. The school said construction was set to begin this fall, with opening scheduled in two years.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.