Nine Schools Breaking Away Leaves One of the Country’s Oldest Sports Leagues with Just Six Teams
The run of one of the nation’s oldest collegiate conferences could be coming to an end.
“It could be,“ WVIAC Commissioner Barry Blizzard said Monday when asked if the departure of nine current members would spell the end of the conference.
The West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) was formed in 1924.
It once included both WVU and Marshall.
There are currently 16 active members of the league.
Nine of those schools have announced intentions to leave in order to form a new all-sports conference starting in the fall of 2013.
Six (6) schools would remain:
• Alderson-Broaddus College
• Bluefield State College
• Davis & Elkins College
• Ohio Valley University
• Wheeling Jesuit University
• University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
“You have to have at least 8 active institutions under current NCAA regulations to be an active Division-II conference,“ Blizzard said. “That number will go to 10 in a very short time.
“Some schools must be added immediately If the WVIAC is to survive. I don’t know where they would come from.
“The future of this league is very much in jeopardy,“ Blizzard said.
If the WVIAC dissolves, one of the longest running basketball tournaments in the country would come to an end.
The WVIAC post season basketball championship tournament has run continuously since 1936. It predates both the NCAA Tournament (1939) and the NIT (1938.)
One of the reasons for the divide among current members of the conference is differing viewpoints on expansion.
“We have looked at different schools ever since we tore down the wall around West Virginia in bringing in Seton Hill and Pitt-Johnstown,“ Blizzard said. “I am not real sure there are a lot of possibilities.
“The landscape in the East right now is pretty tight in terms of places to look,“ Blizzard said. “If we were out West we would have plenty of options.“
The schools forming a new conference are:
• University of Charleston
• Concord University
• Fairmont State University
• Glenville State College
• Seton Hill University
• Shepherd University
• West Liberty University
• West Virginia State University
• West Virginia Wesleyan College