UCLA has been confirmed as the final Varsity Cup team for the new competition's inaugural season. The Bruins join Air Force, BYU, Cal, Dartmouth, Navy, Notre Dame and Utah.
“We’re excited to be a part of the program,” said UCLA coach Scott Stewart. “We really like the format and the participants and the timing of everything, and are really kind of excited to be involved.”
The Bruins will play their regular season in the PAC, a DI-AA conference. Since the PAC doesn’t have enough teams to garner an automatic bid to the DI-AA Sweet 16, joining the Varsity Cup ensures a playoff opportunity for UCLA.
“We weren’t sure exactly if there was going to be any postseason for us this year, having created the PAC conference. We weren’t sure what was happening, so obviously that’s a bonus,” said Stewart.
“I think the brand identity of the schools are involved is really important in terms of trying to sell the game on our own campus, and I think anytime we’re playing against names of those brand IDs, either away from home or at home, it creates a lot of interest from our fan base and our supporters and certainly our administrators that help us put a team on the field.”
"UCLA is one of the historically great American college programs, having won three national championships prior to the modern era begun in 1980, and is now on the way to returning to its former status led by Scott Stewart former Canadian International, as its head coach," commented BYU’s David Smyth.
"We are extremely pleased to have added UCLA as our 8th partner and look forward to their participation at the highest level of competition this coming Spring."
UCLA will face fellow Varsity Cup members Cal and Utah in PAC play and BYU in a preseason bout. The Varsity Cup schedule is yet to be released, but with the final team in place, more details are expected soon.