The school previously had announced its intention to join the Mountain West Conference for football. Hawaii will leave the Western Athletic Conference after a 31-year affiliation.
“In assessing Hawaii, the board carefully considered and was impressed by both its legacy of athletics success and its commitment to academic excellence,” said UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake, chair of the Big West board of directors.
Hawaii’s women’s program was a member of the Big West from 1984 to 1996 before joining its men’s program in the WAC. Beginning in 2012-13, Hawaii will participate in Big West baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s track and field, women’s volleyball, and women’s water polo.
“It is a tremendous day for the Big West Conference. I am personally thrilled because I remember well the participation of the University of Hawaii’s women’s sports teams in the past and really look forward to the revival of that competition,” said Commissioner Dennis Farrell.
The WAC added Denver, UTSA and Texas State in November, about three months after Fresno State and Nevada announced their intention to leave the league for the Mountain West.