The Big West Conference (BWC) is an American collegiate athletic conference whose member institutions participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The conference was originally formed in 1969 as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) and in 1988 was renamed the Big West Conference. The conference stopped sponsoring college football after the 2000 season.
|Big West Conference|
|Members||9 (11 in 2020)|
|Former names||Pacific Coast Athletic Association (1969–1988)|
|Commissioner||Dennis Farrell (since 1992)|
The Big West Conference was formed in June 1968 as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. The five original charter members were Fresno State, San Jose State, UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State, and Long Beach State. Two other schools, Cal State Los Angeles and the University of the Pacific, were also considered but they declined at that time to pursue membership. The newly formed conference had a number of meetings to set up its governance, which was confirmed in October 1968 on the campus of UC Santa Barbara. Before the league started play, Cal State Los Angeles joined as a full member and the University of the Pacific joined for football only, becoming a full member itself two years later. The conference itself lists July 1, 1969 as the recognized creation date with the 7 institutions.
Since its inception as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, the conference has seen many changes. Utah State was the first institution outside of California to join the conference in 1978. This opened the floodgates for many other schools to affiliate with the PCAA; notable schools include UNLV, Nevada, Louisiana Tech, Boise State, and football-only members, such as Southwestern Louisiana and Arkansas State.
In 1983, the PCAA became the first western conference to introduce women's athletic programs, allowing its female student-athletes to compete at the same level as their male counterparts. This proved vital for Hawaiʻi as their only participation in the conference was for their women's sports.
However, many universities left to join conferences that were perceived as more well-known, such as the Western Athletic Conference or the Mountain West Conference, while others did not see the benefit of travel since historically many of the teams have been California-based.
From the departures of Idaho and Utah State in 2005 until the arrival of Hawaii in 2012, all members were based in California, reducing the cost and travel time between the universities. When Hawaii joined, it agreed to help defray a portion of travel costs to that state for the league's California members.
There have been no fewer than 25 full and associate members in the conference's history, while only two of the original seven charter members remain (Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara).
Effective July 1, 1988, the Pacific Coast Athletic Association changed its name to the Big West Conference. With such schools as Utah State, UNLV, Nevada, New Mexico State, and Hawaii now in the fold, the name change was more representative of its member institutions. In addition, the conference had signed a contract with ESPN to have its men's basketball games telecast as the third game of a triple header known as Big Monday - the other conferences being featured were the Big East and the Big Ten so the name Big West fit the theme.
|California Polytechnic State University
|Mustangs||San Luis Obispo, California||1901||1996[a]||Public
|California State University, Fullerton
|California State University, Northridge
|University of Hawaii at Manoa
& Rainbow Wahine[b]
(U of HI system)
|California State University, Long Beach
(Long Beach State)
|49ers[c]||Long Beach, California||1949||1969||Public
|University of California, Davis
|University of California, Irvine
|University of California, Riverside
|University of California, Santa Barbara
(UC Santa Barbara)
|Gauchos||Santa Barbara, California||1905||1969,
|Institution||Nickname||Location||Founded||Joined||Type||Enrollment (Fall 2017)||Primary
|California State University, Sacramento
|30,670||Big Sky||men's soccer
|California State University, Bakersfield
|University of California, San Diego
(UC San Diego)
|Tritons||La Jolla, California||1960||2017[c]||Public
|36,624||CCAA (D–II)||men's volleyball (2018)
women's water polo (2019)
|California State University, Bakersfield
|8,720||July 1, 2020||0|
|University of California, San Diego
(UC San Diego)[a]
|Tritons||La Jolla, California||1960||Public
|33,735||July 1, 2020||0|
Many of the former members of the Big West are now members of the Western Athletic Conference or the Mountain West Conference. Of the nine schools that were in the WAC before its early-2010s realignment, only Hawaii had not spent some time in the Big West as a football participant – it was a Big West member only in women's sports. Of the former members, Cal State Los Angeles is the only team that reverted to Division II level.
School names and nicknames reflect those used by the institutions when they were Big West members. One school has changed its name (Southwestern Louisiana, now branded athletically as Louisiana and also known as Louisiana–Lafayette) and one its nickname (Arkansas State, from Indians to Red Wolves).
|Institution||Nickname||Location||Founded||Joined||Left||Type||Enrollment||Current Primary Conference|
|Boise State University||Broncos||Boise, Idaho||1932||1996||2001||Public||22,678||Mountain West Conference|
|California State University, Fresno
|Bulldogs||Fresno, California||1911||1969||1992||Public||22,565||Mountain West Conference|
|California State University, Los Angeles
(Cal State L.A.)
|Golden Eagles||Los Angeles, California||1947||1969||1974||Public||20,619||CCAA (Division II)|
|University of Idaho||Vandals||Moscow, Idaho||1889||1996||2005||Public||11,180||Big Sky Conference|
|University of Nevada, Las Vegas
|Rebels||Paradise, Nevada||1957||1982||1996||Public||28,203||Mountain West Conference|
|University of Nevada, Reno||Wolf Pack||Reno, Nevada||1874||1992||2000||Public||18,227||Mountain West Conference|
|New Mexico State University||Aggies||Las Cruces, New Mexico||1888||1983||2000||Public||18,497||Western Athletic Conference|
|University of North Texas||Mean Green||Denton, Texas||1890||1996||2000||Public||35,778||Conference USA|
|San Diego State University||Aztecs||San Diego, California||1897||1969 (men's sports);
1984 (women's sports)
|1978 (men's sports);
1990 (women's sports)
|Public||28,789||Mountain West Conference|
|San Jose State University||Spartans||San Jose, California||1857||1969||1996||Public||32,697||Mountain West Conference|
|Utah State University||Aggies||Logan, Utah||1888||1978||2005||Public||28,796||Mountain West Conference|
|University of the Pacific||Tigers||Stockton, California||1851||1969 (football-only);
1971 (all sports)
|2013||Private||6,296||West Coast Conference|
|California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
(Cal Poly Pomona)
(NCAA Division II)
|California State University, Sacramento
|San Diego State University||Aztecs||San Diego||1897||2012||2013||Public||33,790||Mountain West||women's water polo|
at the time
|Arkansas State University||Indians[a]||Jonesboro, Arkansas||1909||1993,
|Louisiana Tech University||Bulldogs||Ruston, Louisiana||1894||1993||1996||Public||11,581||Sun Belt||C-USA|
|Northern Illinois University||Huskies||DeKalb, Illinois||1895||1993||1996||Public||25,313||Mid-Continent[b]||MAC|
|University of Southwestern Louisiana[c]||Ragin' Cajuns||Lafayette, Louisiana||1898||1993||1996||Public||19,188||Sun Belt|
Full members Full members (non-football) Assoc. members (football only) Assoc. member (list sports)
In baseball, Cal State Fullerton has won four College World Series titles with national championships in 1979, 1984, 1995, and 2004. In addition, Long Beach State and UC Irvine have made multiple appearances in the College World Series. Fullerton also has a national championship in softball, winning in 1984. Long Beach State has won three NCAA women's volleyball titles, as a part of Big West Conference women's volleyball, with national championships in 1989, 1993, and 1998. Misty May-Treanor led the 49ers to a 36-0 record en route to the program's most recent title. UC Santa Barbara was the NCAA men's soccer runner-up in 2004, losing the national championship match to Indiana on penalty kicks. The Gauchos returned to the College Cup in 2006 and won the national championship.
Former Big West members UNLV and Pacific won national championships while part of the conference. The UNLV Runnin' Rebels men's basketball team won the 1990 NCAA tournament championship after routing Duke 103-73 in the national title game. UNLV was undefeated during the 1991 NCAA men's basketball season before falling to Duke in the final four. The Runnin' Rebels during this era are widely considered one of the best college basketball teams of all time. The Pacific Tigers women's volleyball team won back-to-back national championships in 1985 and 1986.
The Big West did not sponsor men's volleyball or men's water polo, but it was the primary conference affiliation of several schools that compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for these sports, respectively. In NCAA men's volleyball, UC Irvine has established itself as one of the nation's most elite programs, winning four national championships in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2013. Long Beach State also won men's national volleyball titles in 1991, 2018 and 2019. In NCAA men's water polo, UC Irvine won three national championships in 1970, 1982, and 1989. UC Santa Barbara also won a men's water polo title in 1979.
On May 31, 2016, the Big West announced the conference would sponsor men's volleyball as its 18th sport, with five Big West schools leaving the MPSF to establish the new men's volleyball league. Men's volleyball is the third of four sports in which the MPSF has recently seen a mass exodus of teams to join an existing conference in a newly sponsored sport, with men's soccer, men's water polo, and women's lacrosse as the others. The men's volleyball membership includes core Big West members Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Hawaii, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara. UC San Diego joined as an affiliate to being the league to the NCAA minimum requirement of 6 teams to receive an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.
Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell explained that adding UC San Diego was not an indicator UC San Diego would be added to the Big West Conference as a full member. UC San Diego had recently passed a bill to move all their sports to Division I and is looking for an invite from the Big West Conference. UC San Diego has long competed at the Division I level in men's volleyball; the NCAA conducts a single national championship open to all Division I and II members, and scholarship limits in the sport are the same in both divisions. The Big West regular season for men's volleyball will be double round-robin, each team playing the others once at home and once on the road. The Big West Tournament will have all six teams participate in single-elimination rounds with the top two teams receiving semifinal byes.
The Big West is the first Division I all-sports conference (defined as a league that sponsors men's and women's basketball) ever to sponsor men's volleyball, and the second NCAA all-sports conference overall to sponsor men's volleyball as a scholarship sport (the first was the Division II Conference Carolinas).
On November 26, 2017 the Big West announced that they will add UC San Diego along with Cal State Bakersfield as its 10th and 11th members starting on July 1, 2020. Cal State Bakersfield, who are already a full Division I school and are currently competing in the Western Athletic Conference will become a full member effective July 1, 2020. UC San Diego who had failed to move up from Division II in its failed bids to the Big West in 2011 and April 2017 will go through the four year transition process to Division I and will become a full member effective July 1, 2024. UC San Diego's men's volleyball will be a member of the Big West starting with the 2018 season and their women's water polo will be a member starting in 2019. 
|Track and Field (Outdoor)|
|Golf||Soccer||Tennis||Track & Field
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Cal State Northridge|
|Long Beach State|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|Track & Field
|Cal Poly||Big Sky||MPSF||Independent||No||Pac-12|
|Cal State Northridge||No||No||MPSF||No||No|
|Long Beach State||No||No||MPSF||GCC||No|
|UC Davis||Big Sky||No||No||WWPA||No|
|UC Santa Barbara||No||MPSF||Independent||GCC||No|
|Golf||Soccer||Softball||Tennis||Track & Field
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Cal State Northridge|
|Long Beach State|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|Track & Field|
|Cal State Fullerton||No||No||No||No||No||MPSF|
|Cal State Northridge||No||No||No||No||No||MPSF|
|Long Beach State||No||No||No||No||No||MPSF|
|UC Davis||America East||MPSF||MPSF||No||MPSF||Independent|
|UC Santa Barbara||No||No||No||No||MPSF||Independent|
The Big West Conference discontinued football following the 2000 season.
Future members CSU Bakersfield and UC San Diego in gray.
|School||Basketball Arena||Capacity||Baseball Stadium||Capacity||Soccer Stadium||Capacity|
|Cal Poly||Mott Athletics Center||3,032||Robin Baggett Stadium||3,138||Alex G. Spanos Stadium||11,075|
|Cal State Bakersfield||Icardo Center||3,800||Hardt Field||900||CSUB Main Soccer Field||2,500|
|Cal State Fullerton||Titan Gym||4,000||Goodwin Field||3,500||Titan Stadium||10,000|
|Cal State Northridge||Matadome||2,400||Matador Field||1,000||Matador Soccer Field||1,550|
|Hawaiʻi||Stan Sheriff Center||10,300||Les Murakami Stadium||4,312||Waipio Soccer Stadium||4,500|
|Long Beach State||Walter Pyramid||5,000||Blair Field||3,238||George Allen Field||1,000|
|Sacramento State||Men's Soccer Member Only||Hornet Field||1,500|
|UC Davis||The Pavilion||7,600||Dobbins Baseball Complex||3,500||Aggie Field||1,000|
|UC Irvine||Bren Events Center||4,984||Cicerone Field||2,900||Anteater Stadium||2,500|
|UC Riverside||Student Recreation Center||3,168||Riverside Sports Complex||2,500||UCR Soccer Stadium||900|
|UC San Diego||RIMAC Arena||4,200||Triton Ballpark||1,200||Triton Soccer Stadium||1,750|
|UC Santa Barbara||The Thunderdome||5,600||Caesar Uyesaka Stadium||1,000||Harder Stadium||17,000|
Started during the Big West Conference's 1998–99 season, the Commissioner's Cup is awarded yearly to the most outstanding program over the course of the season in the conference's sponsored sports. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are the most successful team to date having won 9 total trophies.
|Total points||Average||Title #|
|2000–01||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||16||870||54.4||1|
|2001–02||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||16||2,020||126.3||2|
|2002–03||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||16||2,070||129.4||3|
|2003–04||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||16||2,210||138.1||4|
|2004–05||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||16||2,180||136.3||5|
|2005–06||Long Beach State 49ers||13||1,640||126.2||1|
|2006–07||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||16||1,800||112.5||6|
|2007–08||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||16||2,046||127.9||7|
|2008–09||Long Beach State 49ers||14||1,540||110.0||2|
|2009–10||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||17||1,970||115.9||8|
|2010–11||Long Beach State 49ers||14||1,830||130.7||3|
|2011–12||Long Beach State 49ers||14||1,960||140.0||4|
|2012–13||Long Beach State 49ers||14||1,950||139.3||5|
|2013–14||Long Beach State 49ers||14||1,740||124.3||6|
|2014–15||Long Beach State 49ers||14||1,640||117.1||7|
|2015–16||UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||15||2,006.7||133.8||9|
|2016–17||Long Beach State 49ers||15||1,750||116.7||8|
|2017–18||Cal State Fullerton Titans||14||1,635||116.8||1|
The 1988 Fresno State Bulldogs football team represented California State University, Fresno during the 1988 NCAA Division I-A football season as a member of the Big West Conference. The team was led by head coach Jim Sweeney, in his eleventh year, and they played their home games at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California. They finished the 1988 season as champion of the Big West, with a record of ten wins and two losses (10–2, 7–0 Big West).
Fresno State earned their third Division I-A postseason bowl game after the 1988 season. They played the Mid-American Conference (MAC) champion Western Michigan Broncos in the eight annual California Bowl in Bulldog Stadium on December 18. The Bulldogs lengthened their Division I-A Bowl unbeaten streak to three games by beating Western Michigan, 35–30.1990 San Jose State Spartans football team
The 1990 San Jose State Spartans football team represented San Jose State University during the 1990 NCAA Division I-A football season as a member of the Big West Conference. The team was led by head coach Terry Shea, in his first year as head coach at San Jose State. They played home games at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California. The Spartans finished the 1990 season as Champions of the Big West conference, with a record of six wins and five losses (9–2–1, 7–0 Big West).
As a result of the Big West championship, the Spartans qualified for a postseason bowl game against the Mid-American Conference (MAC) co-champion Central Michigan Chippewas. The 1990 California Bowl was played in Fresno, California on December 8, with San Jose State winning, 48–24.1991 San Jose State Spartans football team
The 1991 San Jose State Spartans football team represented San Jose State University during the 1991 NCAA Division I-A football season as a member of the Big West Conference. The team was led by head coach Terry Shea, in his second year as head coach at San Jose State. They played home games at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California. The Spartans finished the 1991 season as co-champions of the Big West conference, with a record of six wins, four losses and one tie (6–4–1, 6–1 Big West). To date, this remains their last conference title.1993 Utah State Aggies football team
The 1993 Utah State Aggies football team represented Utah State University in the 1993 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Aggies were led by second-year head coach Charlie Weatherbie and played their home games at Romney Stadium in Logan, Utah. After a 1–5 start to the season, the team rebounded to finish the regular season 6–5 and earn a spot in the Las Vegas Bowl against Ball State, where they achieved their first bowl win in school history. The team's roster included redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Wells, who was later hired as an assistant coach at the school in 2011 before being promoted to head coach for the 2013 season.1997 Utah State Aggies football team
The 1997 Utah State Aggies football team represented Utah State University in the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was led by third-year head coach John L. Smith and played their home games at Romney Stadium in Logan, Utah.
Utah State was co-champion of the Big West Conference, completed the regular season with a 6–5 record (4–1
in conference), and received an invitation to the inaugural Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho. The Aggies were defeated by Cincinnati, 35–19, in their last bowl appearance until 2011. Smith left for Louisville after the season, and was succeeded by Dave Arslanian in 1998.2009 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2009 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament will take place in March 2009.2010 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2010 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament took place on March 10–13, 2010 at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena in Anaheim, California. The winner of the tournament was UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos received the conference's automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.2013 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2013 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament took place March 14–16, 2013 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Tournament was previously held at the Anaheim Convention Center. The winner of the tournament received the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.2014 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2014 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament took place March 13–15, 2014 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The champion Cal Poly Mustangs received the conference's automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.2015 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2015 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament took place March 12–14, 2015 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The top eight teams qualified for the tournament. In the semifinals, the highest seed played the lowest seed, with two remaining seeds playing each other. The champion received the conference's automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.2016 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2016 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament will take place March 10–12, 2016 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The champion will receive the conference's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Cal State Northridge did not participate in the tournament due to a self-imposed postseason ban for academic fraud violations.2017 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2017 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament was the postseason men's basketball tournament for the Big West Conference. The tournament took place March 9–11, 2017 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The tournament winner, UC Davis, received the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 50–47 win over UC Irvine in the final.2018 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2018 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament was the postseason men's basketball tournament for the Big West Conference of the 2017–18 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. It was held from March 8 through March 10, 2018 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. No. 4 seed Cal State Fullerton defeated No. 3 seed UC Irvine in the championship game to win the tournament winner and receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.2019 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The 2019 Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament was the postseason men's basketball tournament for the Big West Conference of the 2018–19 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. It was held from March 14 through March 16, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. UC Irvine defeated Cal State Fullerton 92–64 in the championship game to win the tournament, and received the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The championship was the second for UC Irvine in the Big West, last winning it in 2015.Big West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year
The Big West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year is an annual basketball award given to the Big West Conference's most outstanding player. The conference was formed in 1969 and was known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association until 1988. The award was first given following the 1969–70 season. No player has won the award three times, but there have been seven two-time players of the year. Larry Johnson of UNLV was also the national player of the year in 1990–91, the same season of his second consecutive Big West Player of the Year accolade.
Long Beach State has had the most all-time winners with 12. There have been three ties in the award's history, most recently in 2007–08. Among present Big West members, two schools have had no winners: Cal Poly and UC Riverside.Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
The Big West Men's Basketball Tournament (formerly the Pacific Coast Athletic Association Men's Basketball Tournament) is the conference championship tournament in basketball for the Big West Conference.
It is a single-elimination tournament and seeding is based on regular season records. Only the top eight teams in the conference qualify for the tournament. The winner receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. Prior to 1985, it was known as the PCAA (Pacific Coast Athletic Association) Tournament for the conference's former name.Big West Conference Men's Soccer Tournament
The Big West Men's Soccer Tournament is the conference championship tournament in soccer for the Big West Conference. The tournament has been held every year since 2008. It is a single-elimination tournament and seeding is based on regular season records. The winner, declared conference champion, receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship.Cal State Fullerton Titans
The Cal State Fullerton Titans (also known as CSUF or Fullerton Titans) are the athletic teams that represent California State University, Fullerton.
The Titans are a member of the NCAA Division I level. The Titans compete within the Big West Conference (BWC) for most sports, wrestling competes as a member of the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12) and gymnastics competes as a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).UC Davis Aggies baseball
The UC Davis Aggies baseball team represents the University of California, Davis in the sport of baseball. The team competes in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and in the Big West Conference. They are currently led by head coach Matt Vaughn, who has held the position since 2012.
The Aggies competed at the NCAA Division II level through 2005. At that level, they appeared in the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship 7 times, including two appearances in the College World Series, where they earned fifth-place finishes each time. At the Division I level, the Aggies have made one appearance in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, in 2008, where they finished 1–2 in regional competition.In 2008, future major leaguer Ty Kelly led the Big West Conference with a .397 batting average as a sophomore, and was #2 in the Big West Conference in hits with 94; his career batting average and hits total rank second and third, respectively, in Aggies history.
Big West Conference