Starting this fall, the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs will have a primary conference home in Division III for the first time in three decades.
Seven UC Santa Cruz athletic teams will join the American College Athletic Association ("ACAA") for 2019-20. The Banana Slugs will compete for the ACAA title in men's and women's championships in soccer, cross country and basketball along with women's volleyball.
"UC Santa Cruz is excited to have our athletic program join the American Collegiate Athletic Association beginning in fall 2019 and be a part of the strong athletic competition the ACAA provides for our student-athletes," said UC Santa Cruz Director of Athletics & Recreation, Susan W. Harriman. "The change allows our student-athletes to compete across the nation against like-minded institutions which the Banana Slugs already compete against."
UCSC becomes the second California school to join the league of former independents after founding member Mills College, bringing the ACAA membership to eight full-time institutions and one affiliate member. "We have worked over the last several years to bring UC Santa Cruz to the ACAA," said Commissioner Kelly J. Higgins. "The Banana Slugs increase our presence on the West Coast and they pair nicely with Mills College, only 70 miles away in Oakland."
The American Collegiate Athletic Association is an NCAA Division III conference that began play in the fall of 2017. The other current eight members of the league in 2019-20 are Mills College (California), Finlandia (Michigan), Mount Mary (Wisconsin), SUNY Delhi (New York), Pratt Institute (New York), University of Valley Forge (Pennsylvania) and Pine Manor College (Massachusetts). The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is an affiliate member for men's soccer only. Due to the geographic distance between the schools, every sport but cross country will use the Massey Rankings to choose the top three conference teams for the Conference Championships at a predetermined host, who will automatically qualify for the conference championship, rather than round robin play.
"We are excited that the ACAA presidents have endorsed the addition of the Banana Slugs as part of ACAA family, and the move makes sense from a strategic standpoint for the only Division III UC," said UC Santa Cruz Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Dino Pollock. "It will benefit many of our constituencies, including our fans, students, alums, and friends of Banana Slugs Athletics. We are thrilled to be fulfilling our commitment to our student-athletes by enhancing their overall collegiate experience by providing recognition and a legitimate postseason route to conference and NCAA championships."
The first ACAA championship event for UCSC will be for the cross country teams on November 3rd at Mills College.
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