The Core Values of UC Davis Athletics

In my first few months at UC Davis I’ve sought to learn as much as I can about our university by visiting with our students, coaches, supporters and other community members who have extensive institutional familiarity. I’ve been able to gain an increasingly refined understanding of the heritage of UC Davis Athletics from these many conversations.

An informed perspective of our history helps us look forward, especially in how we think about our core values. The core values of any organization reflect its history, and also serve as philosophical guideposts for directing future progress. Ours is no exception, and I wanted to take this opportunity to articulate our core values to you.

At the center of our value system at UC Davis Athletics is our commitment to comprehensive scholar-athleticism — in other words, a comprehensive dedication to success in athletics, academics, and student-athlete personal growth. As described in this letter from Interim Chancellor Hexter, at UC Davis we believe in a complementary relationship between elite academics and competitive NCAA Div. I athletics.

We plainly reject the old-fashioned notion that rigorous academics and successful athletics are mutually exclusive. Our belief in compatibility between athletics and academics is supported by the athletics accomplishments of other academically strong institutions. Consider that three institutions from the Ivy League finished as the highest-ranked FCS schools in the Div. I Director’s Cup standings last year — which ranks the nation’s most competitively successful athletics programs — and that Stanford has been the consistent winner of the overall Director’s Cup award. Our aspiration is for UC Davis to serve as a national example for how a rigorous and accessible public institution can comprehensively embody the scholar-athlete ideal, and achieve academically and athletically at a very high level.

A second core value for UC Davis Athletics is our spirit of togetherness. Historically, the development of our special Aggie Pride ethic — defined by Coach Sochor as “trust, unity, and togetherness” — has been a foundational characteristic of our competitive success. When we’re at our best, a spirit of togetherness is pervasive in how we compete, operate and act.

Importantly, this sense of togetherness has been much more than an intangible feeling. Togetherness has been a concrete performance differentiator for our teams, providing a competitive edge over others who are not able to replicate a similar culture. Reinforcing our spirit of togetherness amongst everyone associated with UC Davis Athletics — including student-athletes, coaches, staff, donors, and our community — will strengthen us as we move forward.

Lastly, a commitment to integrity and an obligation to serve our student-athletes in a morally upright manner is a core value that we take very seriously. As we strive for continuous improvement, we are guided by an imperative to operate in a fashion that is aligned with the spirit and letter of NCAA rules and always considers the welfare of our students as preeminent. The UC Davis athletics program has historically sought to operate with an active ethical conscience in doing right by our student-athletes, and this remains a guiding principle for our organization.

As we seek successful outcomes in the modern era of Div. I college athletics going forward, we will preserve our historically-developed core values while also stimulating progress and innovation in how we operate in service of them.

For example, a modern belief in comprehensive scholar-athleticism means that we will move beyond the old-fashioned notion that great athletes cannot also be exceptional students, and help our student-athletes to be both. A modern implementation of our togetherness value means that we will respect and embrace individual differences rather than seeking to diminish them. And doing the right thing for our student-athletes in the modern era means redoubling our focus on helping our students achieve the best possible postgraduate outcomes in today’s competitive job market.

We are working hard each day to live up to our core values and make everyone associated with UC Davis Athletics proud. Thanks for everyone’s support and Go Ags!

Director of Athletics, University of California, Davis.

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