UC San Diego’s move to Division I gets ‘no’ vote

By Phil Dailey

After a vote that took more than two weeks by UC San Diego undergraduates, the Tritions will not be moving to the highest level of college athletics.

UCSD students voted from Feb. 27 to March 6 for an increase in their student fees that would, by and large, fund the move from Division II to Division I athletics. The referendum, which called for a hike in undergraduate student fees of $495 annually, was shot down by an overwhelming margin.

The school needed to increase the athletic budget to make the move, an annual hike of about $7-$8 million. The current athletic budget is nearly $7.5 million, far less than other UC Division I schools.

According to the school’s newspaper, The Guardian, nearly 11,500 students voted and about 60 percent of them voted against the student fee increase.

The Tritons currently compete in Division II and are members of the California Collegiate Athletic Association whose other members include Cal Poly, Cal State East Bay, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State San Bernardino and Chico State, to name a few. UC San Diego is the lone member of the CCAA which is operated under the University of California system.

Had the referendum been approved with a majority of “yes” votes, UCSD would have likely moved to the Big West Conference, which includes several similar institutions such as UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara.

UCSD Athletic Director Earl Edwards told the Light last month that a “no” vote would essentially stop any efforts to move from Division II to Division I. Currently, UCSD is the largest university that competes at the Division I level with its enrollment at nearly 30,000 students.

“When we are talking about moving to Division I, we are talking about competing with like institutions,” Edwards said. “We should be in the same conference with those schools.”

For now, however, UC San Diego will stay put in Division II.