Big West - NCAA
Logo for the NCAA Division I Big West Conference, which welcomes UCSD in 2020. Photo credit: bigwest.org.

UC San Diego reminded the community that the athletics program will move to NCAA Division I in just one year.

The July 1, 2020 transition to the Big West Conference has been eagerly anticipated since the announcement in 2017.

Heidi VanDerveer, coach of last year’s undefeated women’s basketball team, calls recruits’ response “tremendous.”

“Recruits understand that UC San Diego will give them the balance of world class academics with Division I competitive basketball, all in San Diego,” she said. “It’s the total package.”

Men’s Soccer Head Coach Jon Pascale experienced a similar reaction.

“Since the announcement, and over the past year, there’s been so much excitement and momentum building towards the move,” he said. “… I think it gives you a glimpse of what’s to come in the future and how big this is going to be.”

UC San Diego athletic director Earl Edwards said national exposure and stiffer competition will be positive as well.

Two other Triton teams will have led the way to the Big West. Men’s volleyball joined two seasons ago, while women’s water polo will this coming school year.

Teams in the Big West include other UC schools – Davis, Irvine, Riverside and Santa Barbara – Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton.

UC San Diego concluded its recent campaign as runner-up for the NCAA Division II Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup, an honor given to the nation’s best athletic program.

The campus also earned the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Hiegert Commissioner’s Cup. The honor is given to the school with the top overall athletics performance of the year.

Eight teams earned regular season titles and/or tournament championships last season and 18 teams competed in NCAA postseason play. Thirteen went on to the national championships.

– Staff reports

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