SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sacramento State will compete in the Big West Conference as an associate member in men's soccer beginning in the fall of 2012, Conference Commissioner Dennis Farrell announced today. The addition of Sacramento State will increase the number of men's soccer programs in the Big West to eight, allowing for the creation of a two division scheduling format with four teams in each division.
The Hornets will form the Northern Division with Cal Poly, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara. The Southern Division will consist of Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine and UC Riverside. Each team will play intradivisional opponents twice and teams outside its division once for a total of 10 games. The Big West will continue to sponsor a four-team postseason tournament, which will include No. 1 North versus No. 2 South and No. 1 South against No. 2 North. The winners would meet in the championship game.
"I am pleased that Sacramento State has accepted our invitation to compete in one of the nation's premier soccer conferences," said Farrell. "This addition provides resolution to concerns coaches and administrators held in regards to cost savings, missed class time and scheduling opportunities. The move also benefits our institutions in terms of anticipated increased gate revenue and the maintaining of regional rivalries which were not facilitated under the old scheduling format."
Under the new divisional setup, each team will play interdivisional games in Friday-Sunday series (one series at home and one away). Intradivisional games will be played on Wednesday's and Saturday's.
Home attendance at the sites of Central Coast rivals UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly was impressive this past season despite a heavier number of midweek home games. UC Santa Barbara led the nation in 2010 with an average home attendance of 5,873 fans. Cal Poly ranked fourth on the list with an average of 3,013 spectators. The UCSB faithful came out in droves for the Sept. 24, 2010 match against UCLA, in which 15,896 fans filled Harder Stadium for the third-highest single-game attendance total in NCAA history. In addition, UCSB set an NCAA record for total attendance with 70,741 fans in 2010, eclipsing the previous record of 58,392 held by Connecticut in 2007.
In the last two seasons, Sacramento State has compiled a record of 23-11-10 with two consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) tournament titles and trips to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hornets defeated Loyola Marymount in 2009 and Santa Clara in 2010 during NCAA Tournament first round action.