Conference Realignment Central
Dec. 12, 2011
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State athletic department announced Monday that the school has accepted an invitation to join the Big West Conference for 14 of its sports beginning with the 2013-14 academic year. The move comes six days after SDSU's football program made the announcement that it would join the BIG EAST Conference.
The Aztecs enter a league in the Big West that includes Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Pacific, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara. Hawai'i is set to also become a conference member in 2012-13. The Big West boasts 17 NCAA team national championships, including titles in men's basketball, baseball and soccer and women's volleyball and softball.
SDSU will bring all of its teams with the exception of football, women's crew, women's lacrosse, women's swimming and diving and women's indoor track and field to the Big West. A majority of those sports will begin competition in the Big West in the 2013-14 academic year, except for water polo which will start participating in the spring of 2013, and men's soccer which will open Big West play in the fall of 2015.
"We are extremely excited about joining the Big West Conference," said SDSU President Dr. Elliot Hirshman. "The Big West provides extraordinary opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches and staff, alumni and supporters and the entire community."
"The Big West is a great fit for San Diego State geographically, academically and athletically," Aztec Director of Athletics Jim Sterk said.
San Diego State rejoins a league it helped form as a charter member when it was known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA). The PCAA was created in time for the 1969-70 campaign and SDSU was a member until the end of the 1977-78 season before moving to the Western Athletic Conference. The PCAA began its 20th year of existence in 1988 and officially changed its name to the Big West Conference.
The Aztecs are coming off a pair of seasons in which they enjoyed their best showing in school history in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings.
Last year, SDSU turned in one of its most successful performances as a department in recent memory with five programs posting top-3 efforts within conference action, three capturing league championships and the football team hoisting the Poinsettia Bowl trophy. The two-time defending conference champion men's basketball squad was one of the best in the nation as it advanced to the Sweet 16, finished 34-3 and ended the season ranked sixth in the Associated Press Top-25 poll and 11th in the coaches' poll. The women's swimming and diving team and the men's golf program also won conference titles with the former finishing 24th in the final national poll, and the golf team reaching the NCAA national championship.
Women's golf, meanwhile, reached the NCAA Regionals, as did softball, which earned its way to the regional final. Additionally, SDSU's women's outdoor track and field program placed at the national meet and the women's water polo team completed their season ranked ninth nationally.
Two seasons ago in 2009-10, seven Aztec squads finished in the top three in their respective standings with men's and women's basketball and women's soccer claiming conference titles. The women's hoops team advanced to the Round of 16 at the NCAA tournament and finished the campaign ranked 20th nationally. The men's basketball team, meanwhile, earned an NCAA tournament berth, as did women's soccer, which advanced to the second round.
Men's and women's golf, softball, women's swimming and diving, and women's indoor and outdoor track and field all qualified for postseason play, while the women's water polo team finished the year No. 9 in the final poll.