UCSD Students Will Decide School’s Division I Fate
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Photo by Matt Hoffman / KPBS
Beginning May 16, students at UC San Diego will vote on whether to move their athletic program to the next level.
A majority vote by UC San Diego's Associated Students Council was needed Wednesday night for a Division I referendum to be brought to the students.
Student leaders voted unanimously to approve the referendum 29-0.
Nine members of the public, including current UCSD students and alumni, all agreed that students should have the option of moving to NCAA Division I.
No one voiced any opposition to the referendum.
Earl Edwards, UC San Diego’s director of athletics, was at Wednesday's council meeting.
"I am extremely pleased with the decision that the A.S. Council made," Edwards said in a prepared statement. “We feel that aligning ourselves with like institutions at the Division I level would be a positive and transformative step for UC San Diego.”
Students rejected similar proposals to move to Division I in 2004 and 2012.
"Giving students the opportunity to vote on this potential transition is something we welcome and look forward to," Edwards said.
So what makes 2016 different?
UCSD's Associated Students President Dominick Suvonnasupa said he believes there is a new generation of students on campus.
"Division I since I’ve gotten here has always been a conversation piece," Suvonnasupa said. "It's always been something students have seemed to be excited about."
Students will vote whether or not to raise athletic fees by $480, over the course of three years.
“I mean it’s an investment, but is that an investment UC San Diego students want to take? It’s up to the student body to decide,” Suvonnasupa said.
If approved, UC San Diego would look for an invitation from the Big West Conference.
The Big West Conference is currently home to four other University of California schools — UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and UC Santa Barbara.
A football team would not be part of the transition to Division I.
Starting May 16, UCSD students will vote online whether they are in favor of moving to Division I.
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