SAN DIEGO — The California Athletic Conference, which would include UC San Diego, may soon become a reality. Athletic directors from seven schools will meet Monday at Menlo College with the intention of ratifying the conference bylaws, according to Judy Sweet, UCSD athletic director.
Currently, the only NCAA Division III conference in the West is the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which includes private schools in the Los Angeles area. UCSD has previously approached the SCIAC about membership in the conference.
"We've talked to them on a couple occasions in the past couple years," Sweet said. "But (the SCIAC) said that the size and the fact that UCSD is a public university is inconsistent with their situation."
UCSD, currently an independent, led the drive to form a new NCAA Division III conference last spring. The conference must have at least six teams to receive NCAA sanctioning. Once sanctioned, the conference would have to wait two years before receiving an automatic berth in NCAA championship events.
Seven schools reportedly have shown interest in forming the conference: UCSD, Cal State San Bernardino, UC Santa Cruz, Menlo College, Dominican College, College of Notre Dame (Belmont, Calif.) and Mills College.
Brian McManus, who is coach of the UCSD women's soccer team and assistant coach of the men's soccer team, said: "It's good for us to get the other Division III schools involved. We don't have to play Division I and II teams all the time."
McManus said that the soccer team will now have the opportunity to play other Division III schools that it otherwise would not have played because of travel expenses. Because USD would be joining a conference, the athletic department would receive more funds from student activity fees to help offset travel costs.
However, he said that not all the prospective schools have strong men's soccer programs, noting that UCSD recently defeated the College of Notre Dame, 12-0.
Sweet said the conference would give all the teams competitive opportunities throughout the season instead of having only the national championships as a goal.
UC San Diego dropped its football program after its first and only season in 1968 because of a lack of interest, but the sport may get a chance for a fresh start this spring.
Students are expected to vote again this spring on a ballot measure asking them for increased student fees, with the money financing a Division III football team.
"There appears to be a fair amount of support for students taxing themselves," Sweet said.
A ballot measure hastily prepared by a student group last year did not pass because not enough students voted.
The football program would need between $500,000 and $600,000, according to an athletic department study, and that doesn't include "where we're going to play," Sweet said.
Part of that problem may be resolved by the San Diego Chargers, who announced this summer that they would pay for the construction of a building that would include offices, locker rooms and training rooms.
The Chargers use UCSD as the site of their National Football League training camp. In previous years, they have used portable trailers for their facilities. Sweet said UCSD would then fund the development of the area near the new building, including playing fields and an all-weather track.
Currently, there is no playing field, a lack of seating, no permanent restrooms and no fencing for crowd control.
Christian Heritage College has initiated men's and women's cross-country teams this year. Last year, the four-year college in El Cajon began its athletic program with a men's basketball team. Jim Huckaby, the basketball coach, also will direct the cross-country teams. Christian Heritage competes in the NAIA.
The San Diego State women's volleyball team has dropped out of the nation's top 20 rankings for the first time since 1977. The Aztecs, who recently lost Kris Morton, a junior All-American middle blocker, because of personal reasons, are 2-5 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. and 5-9 overall. SDSU has not had a losing season since Coach Rudy Suwara's first year, 1976, when the Aztecs were 5-10. . . . The Grossmont College women's volleyball team is in a position to be ranked No. 1 in the state. Grossmont, ranked No. 2 in the Junior College Athletic Bureau preseason poll, defeated No. 1 Golden West, 15-10, 17-15, Saturday in the finals of the San Diego Mesa Invitational. Grossmont also defeated fourth-ranked College of the Sequoias in the semifinals. Middle blocker Karen Burley led Grossmont with 46 kills and 24 blocks in the tournament. . . . SDSU's Matt Clayton won the Stanford Invitational cross-country title. Clayton has won three of the four races SDSU has competed in this season, and he was second in the Aztec Invitational. . . . The United States International University ice hockey team started practice this week. The Gulls open their season Oct. 24 with an alumni match at the San Diego Ice Arena.