Assistant Sports Editor
CSU Bakersfield will be making the jump from the Western Athletic Conference to the Big West Conference effective July 1, 2020. CSUB President Horace Mitchell made the announcement Monday, Nov. 27 in the Icardo Center.
“CSU Bakersfield has been invited by the Big West Conference and we have accepted that invitation,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said that the change has been a long process that has been in the works for years.
The conference change means that on July 1, 2018, CSUB will be able to attend Big West meetings, followed by conference play two years later, July 1, 2020.
A key benefit that Mitchell said Roadrunner athletes will be reduced class time that they have missed.
All Big West opponents, with the exception of the University of Hawaii, are all in California.
Expenses saved per year by CSUB will be $400,000 according to Mitchell.
Also, according to gorunners.com, the average round-trip distance from CSUB to a WAC school is 2,422 miles. But, the average length of a round-trip in the Big West is only 814 miles. Excluding Hawaii, the average trip would only cover 302 miles.
CSUB athletic director Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried said about the CSUB student athletes, “Today is about you. We have all learned together that we will have success.” Siegfried said that the CSUB women’s volleyball team, despite being a No. 4 seed, was an inspiration.
They won the WAC Championship on the road against UTRGV, Nov. 18.
Director of Volleyball, Giovana Melo said, “This is a really exciting time.”
She added, “To be in the Big West, we’re going to have that same [fan] base. The community is growing.”
Melo said that every coach on the CSUB campus will raise the bar of competition.
Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rod Barnes said about the move, “It’s a sense of accomplishment.”
“This is something that Mitchell and I talked about when I took the job.”
Barnes said the last seven years of Division I were good. “We think this is the right conference for us to be in.”
Director of Basketball Operations, Brandon Barnes said, “We really appreciated the WAC.” Barnes, a CSUB alum basketball player, said, “We expect the team to win and to compete for the Big West Championship.”