Ready for the Future

January 29, 2015

For seven years, the University of California San Diego doled out its athletic scholarships equally--every student-athlete received $500 regardless of sport or talent level, the minimum allowed in NCAA Division II. That changed this fall, when the athletic department began providing merit-based scholarships. The upgrade is designed to both maintain UCSD's reign as a top D-II school, as well as prepare for the future.

"To stay competitive in Division II, we had to move away from what I call the democratic distribution of scholarships to a more traditional system," says UCSD Director of Athletics Earl Edwards. "Now, each coach is given a certain amount of money to work with, and he or she determines how much each athlete gets. We will, however, continue the requirement that each student-athlete must maintain a 2.6 GPA to remain on scholarship."

Along with bringing the athletic program more in line with its peer institutions, the move preps coaches and athletes for an even bigger transition--a possible jump to NCAA Division I, which would include full scholarships. While much rides on a referendum vote slated to go in front of UCSD students later this school year, Edwards is hoping to make the move by 2018, if not sooner. In 2012, a similar referendum failed by a slim margin.

To help achieve UCSD's new goal, Edwards is busy making his case to the campus community. "It's important to educate everyone on the benefits of moving to Division I and what it would mean for our brand and our campus life," he says. "We would receive a lot of great national recognition, which would bring even more value to a UC San Diego degree. Plus, having great, high-profile Division I teams to get behind will give our school spirit a much needed boost. It's an exciting time for all of us."
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