Big West adding UC San Diego, CSU Bakersfield to conference

The Big West got bigger on Monday.

The conference announced the addition of CSU Bakersfield and theUC San Diego as the Big West's 10th and 11th schools.

"The addition of these two outstanding universities will further strengthen the Big West's position as the preeminent NCAA Division I public university conference for the states of California and Hawai'i, said Big West Conference Commissioner Dennis Farrell in a statment. "The 2018-19 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of the Big West Conference and this membership development positions the conference to continue growing and thriving for the next 50 years."

CSU Bakersfield will become an official member of the conference on July 1, 2020, and will be immediately eligible in round-robin and single-site championship sports for Big West titles, awards and honors and continue its eligibility for NCAA automatic qualification in these sports.

UC San Diego will begin an NCAA mandated four-year reclassification period to Division I on July 1, 2020. Its teams will be included in all Big West round robin sports schedules beginning with the 2020-21 academic year. UC San Diego will become an official member of the conference on July 1, 2024.

Once expansion is completed, conference members will have a physical presence in the following markets: Honolulu, HI (University of Hawaii, Manoa); Northern California (UC Davis); The Central Coast (Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara); The Central Valley (CSU Bakersfield); Los Angeles County (CSUN and Long Beach State); Orange County (Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine); The Inland Empire (UC Riverside); and San Diego County (UC San Diego).

Beginning in 2020-21 CSU Bakersfield will participate in the following Big West championship sports: men's and womens basketball, baseball, women's cross country, women's golf, men's and womens soccer, softball, men's and women's track and field, women's volleyball and beach volleyball. For the past two years, CSU Bakersfield has been a Big West associate member in beach volleyball.

"CSU Bakersfield is honored to be invited to join the Big West Conference, and I am pleased to announce that we have accepted the invitation. I believe that this exciting move into the Big West Conference is in the best long-term interests of our athletics program, our university, our alumni, our community, and our Roadrunner fans," said CSU Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell. "We are prepared and committed to contribute to the growth and vitality of the Big West Conference and will bring a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm to the conference."

UC San Diego will field teams in the following Big West sports: men's and women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's volleyball, and women's water polo. The men's volleyball team is currently a Big West associate member as the conference begins sponsorship of that sport in 2018.

"We are pleased and honored to accept the Big West Conference invitation to join its ranks," said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. "We believe that this move will enhance the overall student experience at UC San Diego and heighten our sense of community and school pride. It also demonstrates our commitment to uncompromising excellence across the board."

Beginning with the 2020-21 season, the eligibility of UC San Diego's teams to compete in the Big Wests single-site championship sports during its reclassification period is to be determined. UC San Diego's teams will not be eligible for the Big Wests NCAA automatic qualification in single site championship sports until July 1, 2024.