Melvin Ramey, a professor of civil and environmental engineering who also serves as the faculty athletics representative for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, informed members of the Executive Council of the Academic Senate on Thursday morning that administrators are exploring the idea.Ramey said in an interview Thursday night that he told faculty members that recent changes in the NCAA's structure, which now operates as a federated body of three divisions, have made the option of joining Division I more appealing than it was in the past.
For example, the academic requirements for Division I are actually more stringent than those for Division II, he
In addition, he
and other administrators stress that UCD is not simply considering a move to Division I for the sake of the move.Rather, at its July meeting, the Big West Conference will likely ask UCD to join it.The conference includes several other University of California campuses
as well as Cal Poly, University of the Pacific
, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Idaho and Utah State.
Most of the schools Davis competes against in Division II have less than half the student enrollment of UCD
, are not as well-funded and do not field the number of different sports programs that UCD
UC Davis considered the question of "should we move to Division I?" about a decade ago and the idea started and stalled several times.
...Jeffery Gibeling, chairman of the Academic Senate, agreed with Ramey that this time is different.
...Ramey said he firmly believes that UCD won't get trapped by the financial incentive or the drop in academic standards that can become part of Division I athletics.
For example, he
said, at some schools, the athletics department is directly tied to the development office.
"The program here has always been centered on the students.It reports directly to the vice chancellor of student affairs," Ramey
said."That will stay the same."
In addition, he
coaches are not hired simply for their ability to win games.Coaches at Davis are also instructors, teaching physical education courses to both athletes and nonathletes.