Daily 49er

The Big West Conference is expanding

CSU Bakersfield and UC San Diego join the conference.

Long+Beach+State+played+CSU+Bakersfield+on+Oct.+30+at+the+Walter+Pyramid.+
Long Beach State played CSU Bakersfield on Oct. 30 at the Walter Pyramid.

Long Beach State played CSU Bakersfield on Oct. 30 at the Walter Pyramid.

Christian Gonzales

Christian Gonzales

Long Beach State played CSU Bakersfield on Oct. 30 at the Walter Pyramid.

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The Big West Conference will be expanding, it announced Monday, with the addition of Cal State Bakersfield and the University of California San Diego as the 10th and 11th members.

“We welcome both CSU Bakersfield and UC San Diego into the Big West Conference,” Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee said in a press release. “Both universities are growing and we look forward to seeing their continued progress. Expanding not just the number of teams in the conference, but the total student enrollment and the footprint of the Big West without moving away from being based in California and Hawai’i makes both financial and practical sense.”

CSU Bakersfield will become an official member of the Big West on July 1, 2020. The ‘Runners 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.

The ‘Runners will participate in the following Big West championship sports: men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s track and field, women’s volleyball and beach volleyball.

In the last two years, Bakersfield has been a Big West associate member in women’s beach volleyball.

As for UC San Diego, it will begin an NCAA mandated four-year reclassification period to Division I on July 1, 2020. The Tritons will be included in all Big West round-robin sports schedules beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

San Diego will become an official member of the Big West Conference on July 1, 2024.

Long Beach is familiar with the new additions to the conference as the 49ers have played both this year. The men’s basketball team hosted Bakersfield in a Oct. 30 in a charity exhibition game. Men’s water polo played against San Diego Oct. 18, winning 11-10 in sudden death overtime at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center.

While it may take years for the institutions to join the Big West Conference, it will make the one automatic bid to NCAA tournaments much tougher in the years to come.

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