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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 9:55 am 
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So it looks like the Big West conference is another step closer to it's goal of being an All-California league.

Basically, some time ago Utah State accepted a bid to join the Sunbelt conference. Idaho is having some voting issues within the state, but hopes to be in the Sunbelt as well for all-sports.

To fill the void, UC-Davis is jumpin to Division 1 athletics. The decision is controversal (read the story below).




http://www.davisenterprise.com/display/inn_news/295NEW0.TXT



UCD athletics will move to D-1

By Crystal Ross O'Hara and James Hart/Enterprise staff writers

It's official. UC Davis is moving to Division I athletics.

"I have decided that UC Davis will accept the invitation from the Big West Conference," UCD Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef said at a campus news conference this morning announcing his decision.

"You can see from the banners around us that we are in very good company," he said, gesturing to 10 banners hanging from the ceiling of the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center representing the 10 Big West teams.

The conference consists of eight California schools -- UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, University of the Pacific, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State -- plus the University of Idaho and Utah State.

Dennis Farrell, commissioner of the Big West, said including UCD in the group is part of his vision of an all-California conference. Idaho and Utah State are looking to move out of the Big West.

"Welcoming the UC Davis campus on board is just a proper fit," he said.

The chancellor's decision is not a surprising one. Vanderhoef has stated several times in the past year that he believes UCD should be competing athletically against schools of the same academic caliber.

But his decision is a controversial one.

Vanderhoef's announcement comes just weeks after Academic Senate members sent the chancellor a firm message that they were opposed to a move to Division I-AA athletics. Only 827 of the 2,200 faculty members eligible to vote on how to advise the chancellor participated, but of those, 556 recommended against moving to Division I. Many opposed to the move cited concerns over the potential for corruption.

"Many thoughtful faculty members who care deeply about students, the unique characteristics of the Davis campus, and its wonderful intercollegiate athletic program opposed the proposal to go to Division I-AA," said Joe Kiskis, a UCD physics professor. "I am disappointed that Chancellor Vanderhoef did not give more weight to this collective faculty advice."

Vanderhoef said this morning that he gave careful consideration to all of the e-mails, letters and calls he had received from those concerned about a move to Division I. Late last month he asked the Big West to extend its March 1 deadline to allow for more time to consider the matter.

However, he said this morning that in that time he learned that most of those opposed to the move were worried about the kinds of problems that have occurred at the highest level of college sports, for example at the University of Georgia, where coaches are accused of academic fraud on behalf of some basketball players.

"I walked through (the faculty's) concerns and they simply do not apply to us," Vanderhoef said.

He said the administration will be including safety measures to maintain UCD's high academic standards. UCD student athletes currently have an 85 percent graduation rate, compared to a 75 percent rate for all undergraduates.

A November vote on funding for Division I athletics drew a record number of UCD undergraduates. The count was a close, but it was a clear victory for proponents of the move.

"Today is a monumental day for UC Davis because this is what the students said they wanted," said C.S. Lai, president of the Associated Students of UCD.

Students voted 4,638 to 3,929 to raise their fees to support the move. Incremental fee increases will begin with a $20-per-quarter rise in the fall. By 2008, students will pay an additional $61 per quarter to support athletics.

UCD won't become an official member of Division I until the 2007-08 school year. Because of NCAA rules, the Aggies won't be eligible for postseason play until that time in all sports except men's basketball. The men's basketball team won't be eligible for the postseason until 2009-10 and won't be permitted to play in a Big West Tournament until 2015-16, though there is legislation on the table to reduce this portion of the ban.

Until UCD is classified as a member of Division I, it will count as a Division II opponent, an unattractive option for Division I programs hoping to bolster their own power rankings. As a result, UCD will play its normal round-robin schedule of CCAA opponents next year, but will not be eligible for Division II playoffs. Football will play a similar schedule as it did in '02.

-- Reach Crystal Ross O'Hara at cohara@davisenterprise.net. Reach James Hart at mailto:jhart@davisenterprise.net


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 10:16 am 
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So the future of the Big West looks like this...

Cal Poly
CS-Northridge
Fullerton State
Long Beach State
Santa Barbara
U of the Pacific
UC Irvine
UC Riverside
UC Davis



As mentioned in another thread, what are the chances that the Big West could get Sacramento State to join up as the 10th team? For football, they'd have to be an indy or part of a new conference of 1-AA teams.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 2:55 pm 
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Quote:
So it looks like the Big West conference is another step closer to it's goal of being an All-California league.


They can become an All-SOUTHERN California league if they dropped Pacific. Wow! I think of the kind of teams (e.g. Fresno State, UNLV, Boise State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Utah State, Idaho) this conference had over the years and scratch my head.

http://forums.delphiforums.com/SBCsports/start


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:17 am 
So where will the tenth team come from? I don't expect a 9 team conference to endure too long. I have heard a couple schools including university of denver, southern utah and CSU bakersfield, which would all be moving up from DII. I'm guessing non-california schools are not even in consideration since the conference is bias towards out of state schools. Any other ideas? I have not heard any Big West feedback in a long time.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:08 am 
"I don't expect a 9 team conference to endure too long."

Do you mean to say that you expect the Big West to add a 10th member and not remain at 9 members? The conference will endure as long as it has at least 8 members, and I don't see any current members leaving anytime soon (unless Pacific desired to rejoin the WCC and were allowed to do so).

As for future expansion, I would say to forget about non-California schools. The conference was all-California for its first decade before adding Utah State (to boost flagging football membership) in 1978 and has finally returned to its roots some 25 years later. I foresee Southern Utah remaining in the MCC, and being grouped in a Western Division with the D-I newcomers (UNC, NDSU, SDSU), and possibly Denver. Still curious as to why Sun Belt Conference issued invitation to Denver in the first place and why Southern Utah has never attained Big Sky membership. As for likely 10th additions to the Big West, I see two only two candidates currently at the D-I level, Cal State-Sacramento and San Jose State, with a decision by each contingent on the future of their respective football programs. For CS-Sacramento, that could involve realigning into a new I-AA football conference (and Big West membership) with former American West rivals (UC-Davis, Cal Poly, Southern Utah) or dropping the sport entirely. With San Jose State, it would involve terminating their football program entirely--I simply cannot see SJSU (or Temple) at the I-AA level under any circumstances.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:12 am 
Future Big West member UC-Davis is near Sacramento...I am not sure where exactly Cal Poly is located...sounds about right for the rest of them though (Fullerton, Irvine, Long Beach, Northridge, Riverside, Santa Barbara)...


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 10:31 am 
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Cal-Poly is in San Luis Obispo, on the central coast between Santa Barbara and Moterrey.


Last edited by gumby on Thu Dec 18, 2003 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 11:53 am 
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Here is a story from the Sac Bee that ties into the Big West:

http://www.sacbee.com/content/sports/story/7929980p-8867459c.html

Hornets' coach isn't throwing a block party
Debby Colberg's wishes are NCAA reforms in postseason selections and maybe a new conference.

By Sam Amick -- Bee Staff Writer

Published 2:15 a.m. PST Wednesday, December 10, 2003
It's not too late to get into a Fantasy Sports League. Sign up here.

Debby Colberg has hit the ceiling -- with her program and with her patience.
Another season, another Big Sky Conference championship, and another first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament has the Sacramento State women's volleyball coach wondering about her team's future.

With five first-round losses in six tries on the national stage, and a program that seems to have peaked in its own conference, Colberg is looking for change.

And she has a few ideas.

Colberg wants the NCAA selection process to be different, where politics and personal bias don't determine matchups and berths. Sac State was the lone Big Sky team to be selected last season, while the Big West Conference was represented by six teams.

Last week, Sac State (23-12) lost 39-37, 30-28, 30-23 to fifth-seeded Stanford in an NCAA opener.

"People in those positions should have the integrity to represent everybody, not just their own conference," Colberg said. "I think they ought to be held accountable for those types of decisions."

And if she can't beat them, Colberg wouldn't mind joining them. With some caveats, Colberg said she'd consider a move to the Big West, home to Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Idaho, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, the University of the Pacific and Utah State. UC Davis is set to join the Big West in 2004.

"The Big West would be a good fit in some ways," Colberg said. "It would worry us in terms of, can we compete budget-wise, facility-wise? After so many years (in the Big Sky), I'd be wary of not being on equal footing as our competition."

New facilities may be in the works. The Sac State athletics task force, which will issue its recommendations to president Alexander Gonzalez this month, has heard countless testimonies on the need for better digs.

As for competing in the Big West, UOP coach Jayne McHugh said a nicer home court would be a must for Sac State. No matter the environment, it seems Colberg has the respect of big-time coaches that may be necessary.

"I think the Sac State volleyball program is one of the best overall programs in the country," McHugh said. "Debby fields a competitive team every single year. Maybe Debby's coaching style would jive a little better in the Big West, where we are very serious about scheduling tough out-of-conference matches. I don't get the feeling that that's a priority in the Big Sky."

After his team survived three tough games against the Hornets, Stanford coach John Dunning gave a glowing review of Colberg.

"I've always thought Debby's (teams) were among the best-coached teams you could find," he said. "It's hard to find a team that plays as hard as hers. She's amazing."

A move to the Big West, however, would leave the football program without a home, because it is a non-football conference. And while Colberg, who was the athletics director before Terry Wanless, no longer sits in a position of power, she still has a respected viewpoint.

"I do think not having football might help the other men's sports," Colberg said. "... I can see the benefits of having a football program and the benefits of not. It is a very difficult decision. ... We need to determine the level of excellence we want from our programs. If the budget can support all 20 sports at that level of excellence, then I think we should keep all 20 sports. If not, then we need to look at making some tough decisions."

And as if there's time to worry about anything else, Colberg is faced with rebuilding her latest team. Senior setter Lisa Beauchene (Big Sky MVP) and senior outside hitter Kazmiera Imrie (All-Big Sky first team) won't be back. Junior Stephanie Gamst should fill Beauchene's shoes, and redshirt 6-foot-1 junior Natalie Melcher will replace Imrie.

This week, Sac State signed 6-1 outside/middle hitter Lindsay Haupt, a senior at Etna High School.

"Most of the time I feel pretty good about it, that we have players who will replace them," Colberg said. "It's something I've dealt with (before)."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Last edited by 89rabbit on Thu Dec 18, 2003 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:59 pm 
I wonder about the following programs moving to the Big West:

1. Portland State - Will they keep football?
2. San Jose State - Can they keep football?
3. Sacramento State - Will they stay DI football
4. CSU San Bernardino - Will they move to DI
5. University of Denver - Will they move to DI (non-football) and need a home?

Any opinions or addtions to this list?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 12:13 am 
Portland State: nothing against Portland State, but I don't see the Big West reaching beyond California anytime soon. As for termination of the football program, I have not heard anything to that affect. It is my understanding that the Vikings have not had attendance problems or that there any other outward indicators of difficulty sustaining the program at the I-AA level. Obviously their success at the D-II level has yet to be replicated as a member of the Big Sky, but time will tell.

San Jose State: what happened? During the era of the California (Raisin) Bowl against the MAC Champion, the PCAA/Big West representative was generally either SJSU or Fresno State. Fresno State joined the WAC in 1992, and SJSU football has not really been heard from since. The handwriting is on the wall for that program (Long Beach State, Fullerton, Santa Clara, Pacific), but yet the administration is seemingly postponing the inevitable (note the "gimmicks" used this season to boost home attendance). I think that SJSU should drop football altogether (I cannot see them at I-AA level) and join the Big West while its tenth membership spot is still vacant..

Cal State-Sacramento: first of all, as long as the school remains D-I, the football program must remain D-I. As for the actual future of their football program, it remains to be seen. Membership in the Big West and a football-only American West conference would seem more logical than staying in the Big Sky...

Denver: returned to D-I in the mid-1990s as a member of the Sun Belt Conference; football program has been dormant since the early 1960s. Denver would be a nice fit for the West Coast Conference, but there is an obvious issue of geographic distance that precludes WCC membership. For the moment, the best fit would appear to be the Mid-Con to serve as a bridge from Kansas City/Tulsa to Southern Utah; membership would be even more attractive alongside D-I upgrades (e.g. North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State) in a Mid-Con "western" division.

I can't really speculate about UC-San Bernadino or other D-II (CCAA?) schools because I simply don't have the information...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 5:38 am 
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I can't really speculate about UC-San Bernadino or other D-II (CCAA?) schools because I simply don't have the information...


PCAA, do you mean Cal St. San Bernadino or UC-Riverside?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 6:47 pm 
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Regarding Portland State:

After a few years where attendance hovered around 7.5K to 7.9K, it was around 6.1 this year. Kind of interesting that they held still despite bringing in Grambling and having a couple good gates for Montana.

Montana should be a home game in 2004, which should help, but if the average doesn't rebound to the plateau PSU was on, I think there will be problems.

PSU AD Tom Burman has actually inferred that his basketball program is the "flagship" (or lynchpin, or something close to that). It was really funny to see that said, given that the basketball program was only revived when the Rose Garden opened up, they haven't drawn well before or since, and there's been a lot more "history" surrounding the football program. Other than that, there has not been the kind of media attention in Portland to football problems like there has been recently in Sacramento, and certainly not the long running theme like Saint Joe has endured (I remember articles in the Mercury News back in 1992 and/or 1993 suggesting Spartan football was dead, or at least should be).

If PSU does not improve on 2003 in a Montana year, I think you'll see a lot of calls for shutting down the program. I suspect that things will rebound a bit next season, it won't be an immediate problem, but four years down the road the issue will have bubbled more to the surface. Either way, it's not good for Portland State, because I don't think the Big West will want the Vikings, I doubt the Big Sky would keep non-football members, and there aren't many other options out there for PSU- except D2 and a schedule with the Western Oregons and Western Washingtons of the region.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 12:03 am 
UC-Riverside is already a member of the Big West; I believe they entered in 2001 along with Cal State-Northridge. I have no idea what the prospects for D-I/Big West membership are for D-II/CCAA schools such as UC-San Bernadino, UC-San Diego, CS-Bakersfield. I have however heard that the WAC is interested in adding Pepperdine as its 10th member.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:34 am 
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WAC schools must have football programs. Show me where Pepperdine is starting (or restarting) a program with at least a 20,000-seat stadium, and I might buy the Pepperdine-to-WAC rumor.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 1:20 pm 
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As much as I would like to see pepperdine in the WAC as a non-FB member it is most likely never going to happen. Also I have never thought of it, but UC-Rvierside wouldn't be a bad addition with there academics and baseball.

Just a point. San Bernadino and San Diego are both part of the Cal St. system not the UC system.


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