Frequently asked questions on intercollegiate athletics

UC Santa Cruz offers undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in club sports, as well as NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics.

There are 49 competitive and noncompetitive club sports teams, including baseball, rugby, and badminton.

In Division III intercollegiate athletics, UC Santa Cruz has teams in men’s and women’s basketball, cross-country, soccer, swimming/diving, tennis, and volleyball; and women’s golf and track. The program was established in 1980.

What’s happening with intercollegiate athletics at UC Santa Cruz?

Driven by budget pressures, the intercollegiate athletics program is at a crossroads at UC Santa Cruz. The sustainability of the $1.8 million program has been a question for five years.

In May, undergraduate students will vote in an opinion poll that will help offer a more refined picture of the level of student support and help determine the future of NCAA Division III athletics at UC Santa Cruz.

If more than 50 percent of voting students wish to see the program continue, a fee proposal will be brought to students in spring 2017.

If there isn’t sufficient support for continuing the athletics program, the campus provost/executive vice chancellor has indicated her willingness to close the program the following year.

If there’s a vote on a fee in spring 2017 and it passes, the campus will help transition NCAA athletics to a revenue model based on student fees. If the fee does not pass, the campus provost/executive vice chancellor has indicated her willingness to closing the program the following year.

Even if the Division III program ends, students will still be able to participate in club sports.

When is the election? When will the results be known?

Voting begins May 11 and continues through May 17. The chancellor will verify the results and announce them by May 27.

Didn’t students already vote on a fee related to athletics?

Students voted in spring 2015 against a $117 per quarter fee that would have provided funding for the operation of intercollegiate athletics. A total of 5,778 votes were cast with 60 percent against the measure.

UC Santa Cruz currently has a $5 per quarter student fee, enacted in 2007, that supports intercollegiate athletics.

Isn’t $1.8 million a tiny fraction of the overall campus budget?

In the face of declining state support for University of California, UC Santa Cruz has been forced to make difficult choices for the past several years. This is one of them.

The campus has had to cut more than $65 million from its core operating budget since 2007–08. The campus must remain focused on its mission of education and research.

Do other campuses have student fees supporting athletics?

Yes, many other universities and UC campuses have student fees that help offset the cost of an intercollegiate athletics program as well as the costs associated with many other student programs and facilities.

UC Merced, which competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, charges $75 per semester. UC Irvine has a $99 annual fee to support Division I athletics and other campus spirit programs.

How many students participate in athletics at UC Santa Cruz?

Approximately 280 students, or less than 2 percent of undergraduates, participate in the NCAA program. About 900 students, or 5.5 percent of undergraduates, play club sports. Roughly 4,000 students, or 23 percent of the total student body, take part in the recreational opportunities offered through OPERS at UC Santa Cruz.

What is NCAA Division III?

More than 170,000 student-athletes at 444 institutions make up Division III, the largest NCAA division both in number of participants and number of schools.

No athletics scholarships are allowed in Division III. However, as with all U.S. students, student-athletes are able to apply for financial aid through the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office using a need-based application process.