UCSD Moving on up to Division 1?   Leave a comment


UPDATE 2/27/2012: The referendum is up for a vote. An info sheet with pros and cons of the referendum can be found here. A profile of the referendum process at UCSD and an indictment of the practice can be found here from a UCSD alum.

The Union Tribune reports:

After careful consideration — and a $28,000 report — UCSD now hopes to reach the elite level in another big area of higher education: college athletics. The UCSD student government passed a resolution this week supporting the school’s possible move to NCAA Division I

All that has happened so far is student government passed a resolution to pursue the possibility. At least two hurdles stand in the way:

  1. Student referendum on fee increases to provide around $5 million for staff and scholarship requirements.
  2. Admittance into the Big West Conference, currently carrying 10 schools and unsure about expanding to 11, but identified as the only viable option at this time.

If either requirement is not met, UCSD won’t move to D1, and numerous other potential obstacles — a million dollar D1 application fee among them — may stand in the way. The Tribune reports a $12 mill athletic budget that would need to be funded to maintain a D1 program, and budget issues within the UC are, to put it mildly, concerning.

The question every UCSD student is asking can be answered with a plain and simple “no.” There are no plans to create a Division 1 football team. A consultant was paid $28,000 to tell the school that costs, facilities, and gender-equity issues make the creation of a football team impractical. Of course it’s expensive (but longer term it could make tons of money), of course RIMAC and North Campus fields couldn’t accommodate a D1 football game (Qualcomm and Petco didn’t answer your calls?), and the gender-equity issue, while ubiquitous in college sports, continues to fly in the face of certain realities.

So what’s the point of moving to D1 without football? It’s worse than upgrading to the iPad 2 and saying “but don’t give me the front-facing camera.” Wasn’t the consultant paid all that money to figure out a way to make football work? Oh great, now UCSD will be D1 in basketball, baseball, volleyball, etc, and achieve the national athletic prominence of other Big West powerhouses UCI, Long Beach State, and UC Riverside. Just what we always wanted and needed to elevate school spirit. I respect our student athletes as UCSD — they’re talented, work tough schedules, and don’t get cut slack in their academics. However, athletic upward mobility has to include D1 football to be at all worthwhile. If you’re going to upgrade, do it big.

Division 1 is a good step. It will help strengthen our sports programs and our university. Will make the school more well-known nationally, boost pride in alumni/potential donors, and elevate school spirit. As uncontroversially as I can say this, the scholarship requirements could help alleviate any perceived diversity issues that linger from the events of 2010. But football is the prize jewel of ascension to D1. That’s the biggest issue, that’s what the students want. No football, and everything else becomes a consolation prize. As UCSD students, we want nothing more than to witness our D1 football undefeated streak come to an end.

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Posted March 12, 2011 by Wada in UCSD

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