UC Davis Home Page

News and Information

UC Davis Timeline: The Road to Division I

July 17, 2007

NOVEMBER 2002 -- Undergraduates at UC Davis approve the Campus Expansion Initiative, a portion of which put the students on record as supporting an increase in student fees to help fund the move to Division I and the Big West Conference.

MARCH 11, 2003 -- Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef announces that UC Davis will reclassify from NCAA Division II to Division I status and join the Big West Conference. The chancellor's decision concludes almost a full year's worth of discussion by campus administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the local community. Vanderhoef's announcement kicks off a four-year effort to complete the transition.

JUNE 1, 2003 -- The Aggie women's rowing team captures its second straight NCAA title. It marks the last NCAA Division II postseason competition of any kind for UC Davis. The D-II titles by the rowing and softball teams that year help clinch the university's sixth NACDA Division II Directors' Cup, which honors the nation's most outstanding overall athletics program.

JULY 18, 2003 -- The athletics department celebrates the groundbreaking of the Marya Welch Tennis Center, an expansion of the previous Hickey Courts.

JANUARY 10, 2004 --The men's and women's swimming teams host the Aggie Open, the first competition held at the Ted & Rand Schaal Aquatics Center. The new facility, featuring an Olympic-sized pool, multiple diving springboards, locker rooms and office space, replaces the 65-year-old Hickey Pool as the aquatics teams' home facility.

FEBRUARY 25, 2004 -- The formation of the Great West Football Conference is announced. The original lineup of the football-only alliance is comprised of UC Davis, Cal Poly, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State and Southern Utah.

APRIL 2004 -- The NCAA Division I Board of Directors passes the Big West Conference-sponsored Proposal No. 2003-13, which shortens the waiting period for a reclassified institution to earn an automatic qualification for NCAA Championships. Under previous rules, UC Davis would have had to wait until 2009-10 in most of its sports, and 2015-16 in men's basketball.

FALL 2004 --The Aggies begin playing a mostly Division I schedule, after largely competing against Division II foes during the 2003-04 year. Also, wide receiver Tony Kays of the football team finishes his junior year with a school-record 93 catches. Both his total and his rate of 8.45 receptions per game would have led all I-AA players, but UC Davis student-athletes are not eligible to rank among NCAA statistical categories.

DECEMBER 2004 -- Women's lacrosse midfielder Kelly Albin becomes the first Aggie student-athlete to earn an NCAA Today's Top VIII Award. She'd previously won the school's third NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Both accolades recognize combined achievement in athletics, academics, character and leadership.

FEBRUARY 25, 2005 -- Yuka Kobayashi captures the 100-yard backstroke title at the Big West Conference Championships, becoming the first Aggie student-athlete in any sport to win a conference championship in the new affiliation. Although UC Davis does not become an official member of the Big West until 2007-08, the league's coaches invite the Aggie swimming and diving teams to participate at the conference meets during the reclassification period.

APRIL 14, 2005 -- The new Marya Welch Tennis Center is formally dedicated to its namesake, who pioneered women's athletics at UC Davis in the 1940s. The ceremony features an exhibition match between John McEnroe and Wayne Ferreira.

SPRING 2005 -- Sophomore midfielder Katie McMahon leads the lacrosse team with 69 goals in 18 games. Her rate of 3.83 goals per game outpaces all Division I players.

JUNE 4, 2005 -- The UC Davis athletics department celebrates the groundbreaking of the university's new multi-use stadium.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2005 -- The Aggie women's golf team places eighth at the Oregon State Invitational, the inaugural event for the athletics program's newest sport. Under the guidance of former softball coach Kathy DeYoung, the all-freshman squad wins three tournaments in its debut season, including a dominating victory at the D-I Independent Championships.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2005 -- The UC Davis football team overcomes a 17-0 deficit to earn a 20-17 upset over Stanford. The victory is the second of five Aggie triumphs over the Cardinal during that athletics year, as men's soccer, men's basketball, wrestling and baseball teams also captured wins. The unlikely rivalry was dubbed "Farm vs. Farm," nods to both UC Davis' agricultural roots and Stanford's longtime nickname.

DECEMBER 2005 -- UC Davis launches its six-month-long NCAA Division I certification self-study, which investigates and evaluates such wide and varied issues as governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, equity and student-athlete welfare. The steering committee for the task is chaired by Stan Nosek, vice chancellor for administration; and includes the chancellor, university staff, faculty, students and alumni. The committee's 176-page report is submitted to the NCAA the following May.

MARCH 2006 -- Women's basketball finishes its season with an 11-5 record against Big West Conference opponents, a mark that would have placed the team in a tie atop the regular season standings had the Aggies been official members.

APRIL 13, 2006 -- The bat of Lukas Kirby and the pitching arm of Michael Potter lift the Aggie baseball team to a 2-1 win over No. 1 Cal State Fullerton, marking the first time UC Davis had beaten a top-ranked Division I team in any sport. Earlier in the season, the Aggies had nipped Oregon State, which would go on to capture the first of two back-to-back NCAA titles.

MAY 12-14, 2006 -- UC Davis hosts the National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championships at Schaal Aquatics Center. It marks the first time since 1995 that the university has hosted an NCAA championship (excluding regionals and "play-in" events), and the first on-campus NCAA championship since the 1981 D-II wrestling tournament. The Aggies, which had upset Loyola Marymount in the Western Water Polo Association title game, earned their first berth in the NCAA tournament, where they placed fifth.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2006 --Sule Anibaba's goal lifts the men's soccer team to a 1-0 win over 12th-ranked UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos go on to capture the Big West Conference title, and then their first NCAA championship with a 2-1 win over UCLA in the College Cup final.

SEPTEMBER 27-28, 2006 -- An NCAA peer-review team visits the UC Davis campus to conduct its evaluation for the Division I reclassification process. In addition to inspecting campus facilities and amenities, the group meets with Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, the NCAA Certification Self-Study Steering Committee, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, head coaches, student-athletes and other key campus officials.

NOVEMBER 12, 2006 -- UC Davis faces Georgia Southern in the College Basketball Experience (CBE) at Duke's legendary Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game is televised on ESPNU, marking the first time an Aggie athletics event is carried on a national network since 1998, when CBS aired that year's NCAA Division II men's basketball championship.

MARCH 17, 2007 -- Derek Moore wins the 141-pound title at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Auburn Hills, Mich., becoming the first UC Davis student-athlete to capture an NCAA D-I national title (wrestling and women's gymnastics are the only two NCAA Division I sports at UC Davis).

APRIL 1, 2007 -- UC Davis women's lacrosse defeats Saint Mary's, 17-5, in the first official athletics contest at the university's new multi-use stadium. A month later at the new venue, the Aggies host the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships for women's lacrosse.

MAY 8, 2007 -- Senior golfer Louie Bishop is selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America as a finalist for the Byron Nelson Award. Candidates for the Nelson are graduating seniors with demonstrated achievement in academics, golf, character and integrity.

SPRING 2007 -- Aggie softball finishes its season at 31-27-1, a 16-win improvement from the program's previous year. No other UC Davis team enjoyed such a large two-year improvement during the reclassification.

JULY 1, 2007 -- The Big West Conference declares UC Davis as an official member. The Aggies had competed against the Big West members during the three previous seasons, including a full schedule in round-robin sports such as basketball and volleyball during the 2005-06 an 2006-07 years.

JULY 2007 -- The multi-use facility now known as Aggie Stadium nears completion, culminating a two-year construction phase. While women's lacrosse used the stadium for the latter half of its 2007 season, and football played its annual May spring game there, many parts of the facility are still undergoing construction.

JULY 2007 -- The NCAA declares UC Davis as a certified member of Division I.


Return to the previous page