Triton Football on Hold

Rebekah Hwang/Guardian

After campaigning on a platform last year that promised to bring a football team to UCSD, A.S. President Utsav Gupta is postponing those plans until at least Fall Quarter 2010, and is instead exploring an overhaul of the athletics department.

A meeting between Gupta and Director of Athletics Earl Edwards last week led to the conception of three different options for an athletics referendum. Because Edwards determined that the options need to be further researched in terms of feasibility, no mention of a football team will appear on the Spring Quarter election ballot.

Gupta said that this postponement would put the referendum under the voting power of the 2010-11 council.

“We’re not pursuing it this quarter,” Gupta said. “Voting will depend on the next student council. And this will probably happen in [the] next year.”

Instead of solely focusing on the creation of a football team, the new options look to upgrade UCSD athletics teams to Division-I. As it stands, all UCSD athletic teams are Division-II except volleyball and water polo, which do not have separate national divisions.

The first and original option Gupta has proposed for next year’s A.S. Council — which would cost students $20 per quarter — is the creation of a D-II football team.

The second option would upgrade all UCSD athletic teams from D-II to D-I, as well as create a D-I football team.

The final option would upgrade all UCSD athletic teams from D-II to D-I without the addition of a football team.

According to Edwards, UCSD teams do not currently compete against schools of the same academic caliber due to their D-II standing. He said this might contribute to the lack of enthusiasm students exhibit toward athletics.

“Having a [D-II] football team doesn’t make sense if we only have one team to play,” Edwards said. “This plan is not so much about moving to D-I than to compete against schools more like UCSD. We don’t have much in common with the schools we’re playing against right now.”

Moving to D-I would involve competing against schools such as UC Riverside, UC Irvine and UC Davis.

Gupta is highly in favor of the second, most extreme option — which would advance all UCSD athletics to D-I in addition to creating a new D-I football team — and said the current delay in the referendum will be worth it in the long run.

“We’re trying to move all our teams to D-I,” Gupta said. “That’s worth holding off a quarter or two on the question.”

The A.S. Council and the athletics department are hiring a fiscal consultant to evaluate the cost of all options.According to Edwards, the cost would be in the millions. The selection process for the consultant will begin next month.

Readers can contact Xue Mao at [email protected].

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