San Diego, California - When students begin classes at UC San Diego this fall, it will mark a significant milestone for UC San Diego Athletics. It will be the first time in the university’s history that the campus will offer prospective high-merit student-athletes athletic scholarships that are significant enough to help cover tuition and educational costs. The scholarships will be funded by fees from a 2007 Associated Students referendum, with additional private support from alumni, families and friends.
UC San Diego is the only school in its conference that has not, up to this point, awarded or raised funds for merit-based athletic scholarships. The change, which was approved by the Academic Senate Council during the 2013-14 academic year, will help make UC San Diego more affordable to student-athletes from all backgrounds, including those from low-income families who come from underserved regions. The new scholarships will also help UC San Diego Athletics remain competitive with other UC campuses, as well as competitor schools in NCAA Division II, which provide athletic scholarships to attract top students.
“Athletic scholarships will allow the campus to recruit outstanding prospective Tritons and retain impactful student-athletes who maintain exceptionally high academic standards,” said Athletic Director Earl W. Edwards. “UC San Diego Athletics has a tradition of athletic and academic excellence. This tradition will only be bolstered by athletic scholarships.”
UC San Diego Athletics has consistently been ranked as the top NCAA Division II school in the National Collegiate Scouting Association’s Power Rankings based on student-athlete graduation rates, academic strength and athletic prowess. In addition, the campus recently won the NCAA Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence based on strong graduation rates among UC San Diego student-athletes. The average GPA of student-athletes at UC San Diego is higher than that of the student body as a whole. In order to keep their scholarship funding, student-athletes will be required to maintain a GPA of 2.6 or better.
“Offering athletic scholarships in a more traditional manner will allow us to provide support to student-athletes that will be significant enough to help them cover the cost of a world-class UC San Diego education,” said Edwards. “It will strengthen both the athletics program and the campus as a whole, as we will be able to attract outstanding students who might have otherwise chosen to attend other schools that offer more robust scholarship packages.”
The NCAA requires that scholarships be provided to student-athletes at Division II colleges and universities. To meet this requirement, in 2007, the Associates Students (AS) held a special election in which students voted to provide funding for grants-in-aid (or scholarships) to student-athletes as part of their annual registration fees. In past years, the funds were split up so that every student-athlete who maintained the required GPA received $500 per year. Funding from the 2007 referendum will continue to provide support for student-athlete scholarships, which will be distributed as part of the new structure to be phased in over the next three years. Student-athletes who entered UC San Diego under the previous athletic aid process will continue to receive at least $500, as long as they maintain a 2.6 GPA and remain on the team.
Funds from the student referendum will be augmented with gifts to support athletic scholarships from parents, friends and alumni—such as Gordon, ’92, and Anne Marie McNeill, ’93, M.D., Ph.D. Gordon played on the men’s basketball team during his time at UC San Diego and both feel passionate about supporting athletic scholarships for future student-athletes. The couple recently pledged to establish the Triton Men’s Basketball Scholarship, which will provide scholarship support for full-time undergraduate student-athletes who participate on the men’s basketball team, and who are in good academic and athletic standing.
“We support and recognize the vision and spirit of UC San Diego,” said Gordon. “We hope that this athletic scholarship will serve as encouragement and inspiration to deserving undergraduate student-athletes.”
Gifts can be made online to a general athletics scholarship fund, or specific team scholarship funds may also be set up. To learn more about making a gift to a team scholarship, please call 858-534-3540.