A.S. President Dominick Suvonnasupa announced that A.S. Council will be proposing a referendum during the Jan. 20 council meeting for UCSD’s advance to NCAA Division I athletic standing. Suvonnasupa made the initial announcement during last Wednesday’s council meeting.
Suvonnasupa told the UCSD Guardian that a move to Division I could help UCSD catch up to other UC campuses.
“We compete with Cal and LA academically in a lot fields and best them in some fields, [which is] amazing considering we’re much younger than they are,” Suvonnasupa said. “I think what Division I would do is let us catch up to them in other ways.”
Eleanor Roosevelt College junior, student athlete and member of the Triton Athletic Council Shane Beamer told the Guardian that virtually all student athletes would welcome the move.
“We’re pushing the edge of [Division II] and some of our sports teams are becoming part of Division I leagues,” Beamer said. “[However], in order to fully compete in a Division I level, there’s a need for our school to actually obtain Division-I standing.”
Beamer continued to explain that since UCSD does not give out athletic scholarships as a Division II school, some student athletes are forced to work part-time jobs in addition to attending classes and training for sports.
“Student athletes would be eligible for scholarships and could therefore put more time toward academics because they wouldn’t have to worry about working long hours to pay tuition in addition to the demanding training schedule,” Beamer explained.
The last time students voted on a Division-I referendum was in 2012 when nearly 60 percent voted against the move. According to Beamer, some of the dissenting opinions that the Triton Athletic Council has received include concern that the accompanying increase in student fees would finance the tuitions of student athletes without benefiting the rest of the student population.
However, as Sixth College senior Julia Kirkland pointed out, the move to Division I athletics would help rally alumni support. Currently, out of all the UC campuses, UCSD annually receives one of the lowest amounts of alumni donations.
“The move to Division I would allow our school to become more nationally recognized,” Kirkland told the Guardian. “This would gain more support from UCSD alumni, which would in turn benefit all aspects of student life.”
Eleanor Roosevelt College junior Andrew Moore also noted that national broadcasting would further contribute to the UCSD’s fame.
“[Division I standing] would enhance the national notoriety of the school because we would be able to compete with other Division I schools that nationally broadcast their games,” Moore said. “This would make it easier for all graduates to get jobs after school.”
Suvonnasupa said that A.S. Council wants to remain neutral and let students decide by presenting the information to them in a clear and concise manner.
“We would love to hear what students think,” Suvonnasupa said. “Senators talk to their constituents and we talk to colleges so we get a general idea [of what students think] but it’s really great to have [them] come in to give their input.”
UCSD Athletics Director Earl Edwards will be speaking on the issue during next week’s council meeting.