This article has been updated to include a statement from Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell.
The Big West Athletics Conference denied membership to UC San Diego, Vice Chancellor-Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez and Intercollegiate Athletics Director Earl Edwards said in an email announcement. Gonzalez and Edwards emphasized their commitment to the students and faculty’s desire to move to Division-I.
“As a University, we will continue dialogue to better understand and address the current issues surrounding UC San Diego’s potential membership in the Big West Conference,” they said in the announcement.
For UC San Diego to secure Division-I membership, seven of the nine schools in the conference needed to vote “yes,” which did not happen. The schools, which include four UC schools, four Cal State schools and University of Hawaii at Manoa, the most recent member, were represented by their respective chancellors or presidents. In May 2016, 6,137 out of the 8,828 voting students indicated that they wanted the university to move to Division-I. In the 2016 Fall Quarter, 736 faculty members casted a vote, with 457 of them voting in favor of the move. If UCSD is not accepted to a conference by 2018, the student vote will be invalid, and the process will have to start over.
“The Big West Board of Directors (composed of the conference member institutions’ presidents and chancellors) have decided not to pursue membership expansion at this time,” Big West Conference Commissioner Dennis Farrell told the UCSD Guardian. “The Board is comfortable with the current alignment of membership and this decision should not reflect negatively in any way UC San Diego’s qualifications or Division-I potential.”