San Diego State’s success in men’s basketball and football, along with its location and academics, has put the program at the forefront of conference realignment conversations. With both of Southern California’s premier basketball programs, UCLA and USC, heading to the Big Ten next season, SDSU plans to entrench itself as a sensible regional option for recruits. The program’s athletic director John David Wicker sees the amount of travel that USC and UCLA will have to do for league play as a potential recruiting advantage for San Diego State. The school’s location and strong run of success in both sports make it a desirable candidate for the Pac-12, Big 12, and other potential conferences.
San Diego State’s commitment to building top-tier facilities has also made it an attractive option for power conferences. The school opened Snapdragon Stadium for football this past fall at a cost of $310 million, and the environment at Viejas Arena for basketball on campus has long been considered one of the most intense and dynamic in the country.
As the Aztecs make their first-ever Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament, head coach Brian Dutcher points to regional play as a better option for student-athletes, and the travel challenges faced by the new Big Ten schools as a potential stumbling block. Despite the challenges, San Diego State plans to be ready to step into a power conference when the opportunity arises.