WISE Va. (WYMT) - The presidents of twelve universities, nine in West Virginia, two in Ohio, and one in Virginia, jointly announce the formation of a new all-sports collegiate athletic conference to be named the Mountain East Conference.
The new twelve team league's charter membership will include: Concord University (W.Va.), Fairmont State University (W.Va.), Glenville State College (W.Va.), Notre Dame College (Ohio), Shepherd University (W.Va.), The University of Charleston (W.Va.), The University of Virginia's College at Wise (Va.), Urbana University (Ohio), West Liberty University (W.Va.), West Virginia State University (W.Va.), Wheeling Jesuit University (W.Va.), and West Virginia Wesleyan College (W.Va.).
"We are extremely pleased to announce the formation of the Mountain East Conference," stated spokesperson Reid Amos on behalf of the twelve presidents of the new alliance. "The goal of this effort has been to align like-minded institutions with similar budgets and goals across a regional footprint. We strongly believe that our charter membership creates a solid foundation that provides mutual benefit and secures the athletic future for our institutions. We will collectively make every effort to provide a high-quality experience for our student-athletes in Mountain East competition."
The Mountain East Conference intends to commence competition for the 2013-14 academic year, but will remain active with their current conference affiliations until such time that they would be able to compete as a conference within the NCAA. The move will not affect any athletic schedules for 2012-13. With current sports sponsorship, the Mountain East Conference will meet the NCAA requirement for a conference championship in sixteen sports, including: Men's and Women's Basketball, Baseball, Men's and Women's Cross Country, Football, Men's and Women's Golf, Men's and Women's Soccer, Softball, Men's and Women's Tennis, Men's and Women's Track, and Volleyball. The West Virginia institutions are currently members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), UVa-Wise and Urbana were slated to compete in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) beginning in 2013, and Notre Dame is an NCAA Division II Independent competing in five of its twenty-two sports as an affiliate member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). UVa-Wise has been accepted into the NCAA membership process and will compete within NCAA Division II in 2013 while pursuing full membership; the other eleven schools are all NCAA Division II members.