Sacramento State joining Big West for men’s soccer

Big West men’s soccer just got stronger.

The conference announced that Sacramento State will compete as an associate member in men’s soccer beginning in the fall of 2012.

The Hornets have been a perennial top 10 team in the West Region for the last few years. In the last two seasons, Sacramento State has compiled a record of 23-11-10 with two consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament titles and trips to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hornets defeated Loyola Marymount in 2009 and Santa Clara in 2010 in the first round.

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 be part of the Northern Division with UCSB, Cal Poly and UC Davis. 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 Big West Commissioner Dennis 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.