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Navigating Divisional Transitions With UCSD’s Earl Edwards

Guest Earl Edwards, UC San Diego
21:07 min watch


UC San Diego Director of Athletics Earl Edwards joins ADU’s Tai M. Brown at the 2023 Women Leaders Convention to share insight from his experience guiding the Tritons from Division III to Division II to Division I over the course of two decades. Edwards and Brown discuss repositioning the value of Athletics in order to cultivate buy in from campus stakeholders during the various transitions as well as the longtail impact of the DI transition on the talent level, diversity and academic profile of the student-athlete population. Edwards also reflects on the changing industry from the perspective of his 35 years in the business and talks about differentiating the Tritons in San Diego’s crowded sports market.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - In your 23 years as AD at UC San Diego, you've seen quite a bit of change with the transitions from Division III to Division II and now Division I. Tell me about the expectations you had to set for the general campus when it comes to Athletics and what you wanted to accomplish. 
  • - What did they think about Athletics back in 2000 when you took over? Was it thought of as part of the university's larger academic mission?
  • - Tell me about serving as the glue to bring the whole campus together.
  • - So you've seen excitement for Athletics grow from people across campus throughout the years.
  • - Have you seen an evolution in athletic talent and ability as UCSD made the transition from DIII to DII to DI?
  • - Is the additional diversity among the student-athlete population a natural outgrowth of being Division I or has there been intent on your part in terms of leading the department?
  • - I wonder about making people feel comfortable in whatever environment they exist in on campus.
  • - Tell us about your transition from East Stroudsburg to Southern California.
  • - How long has the term "scholar athlete" been in the lexicon at UC San Diego?
  • - You've been in the industry for 35 years. What's your perspective on the evolution of intercollegiate athletics during that time?
  • - How much do you use the experience of the past to inform your decisions for the future?
  • - Tell me about differentiating yourself in a crowded sports market down in San Diego.