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College Volleyball

Big West Conference Adds Men’s Volleyball

Conference announces plans to create six-team league beginning in 2018

The UCSB men’s volleyball team will start competition in the Big West Conference beginning in 2018.
The UCSB men’s volleyball team will start competition in the Big West Conference beginning in 2018.  (Noozhawk photo file)

The Big West Conference has announced the creation of a men's volleyball championship beginning in 2018, becoming the first NCAA Division I conference to sponsor competition in the sport. 

In making the announcement, Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell noted that men's volleyball will become the 18th sport in which the conference conducts an annual championship. 

The Big West Board of Directors approved a six-team league consisting of full conference members CSUN, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and Hawai'i. A sixth team from UC San Diego will join the group as an associate member and will give the conference the minimum six teams required for postseason NCAA automatic qualification. 

 

An associate member in the Big West is any institution that participates in three or less conference championships. Other current Big West associate members are CSU Bakersfield in women's beach volleyball and Sacramento State in men's soccer and women's beach volleyball. 

Competition for the regular season championship will be contested in a double round-robin format for a total of 10 matches. A six-team, single elimination postseason tournament will be conducted at a campus site one week prior to the NCAA Championship Selections. 

"The Big West Conference is thrilled to add a sport that is so popular in our region and is growing on the national level," said Farrell. "Because the NCAA championship is conducted across Divisions I and II, UC San Diego despite its Division II status in its other sports, is eligible to compete in the Big West in this sport. 

"We are extremely excited about the addition of men's volleyball to the Big West," commented UCSB coach Rick McLaughlin. "This marks the first time ever that an NCAA Division I Conference has officially adopted our sport, which is a huge step in the growth of men's volleyball.  I commend Dennis Farrell for having the guts to be the first conference commissioner to champion this endeavor.”

The six programs, which previously have competed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation since 1993, come to the newly formed conference having played a prominent role in men's volleyball on the national scene. 

"It should be noted that the creation of this championship is the culmination of a year's worth of work within the conference that has engaged both the sport's coaches and administrators, added Farrell. “UC San Diego's consideration as a member in men's volleyball has been discussed throughout that process and has no relation to its current consideration of Division I membership.”

The schools have produced five NCAA national championships,12 runner-up finishes and 26 Final Four appearances since 1970. UC Irvine won four national titles over a seven-year period, including 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013. Since 2008, five of the conference members have made at least one appearance in the NCAA Championship.

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