With expectations of an automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championships the newly minted members of the Golden Coast Conference have shaken up the sport.
The GCC announced on Thursday that it would begin fielding a men’s division beginning this fall. Six schools have peeled off from the hyper-competitive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to form the new men’s conference: Long Beach State University, Pepperdine University, San Jose State University, University of California Irvine, University of California Santa Barbara, and University of the Pacific.
The inaugural conference tournament will be hosted by Pacific and the GCC will feature regular Friday night league matches.
Whether and when the NCAA would grant the conference champion automatic entry in the national championship tournament is uncertain, though Long Beach State Head Coach Gavin Arroyo “said that it is only two years away from becoming official” according to the Daily49er.
The decision will leave the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with only four teams – Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and USC – opening serious questions about that conference’s future. The four schools are long-standing members of the powerhouse Pac-12 Conference for most of their other sports.