Mountain East Conference
The Mountain East Conference (MEC) is a collegiate athletic conference that competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level and officially began competition on September 1, 2013. It consists of 12 schools, mostly in West Virginia with other members in Maryland and Ohio.
|Mountain East Conference|
|Region||West Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio|
|Headquarters||Bridgeport, West Virginia|
|Commissioner||Reid Amos (since 2012)|
Formation and historyEdit
The conference is an offshoot of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), another Division II conference that had operated primarily in West Virginia since 1924. In June 2012, the nine football-playing schools in that conference announced plans to break away and form a new all-sports conference. The schools that made the initial announcement were the University of Charleston, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Seton Hill University, Shepherd University, West Liberty University, West Virginia State University, and West Virginia Wesleyan College. All of these schools were in West Virginia, except for Seton Hill, located in Pennsylvania. According to regional media, the split was "supposedly rooted in different philosophies of progressivism", and also was partially driven by a desire to expand the new conference's footprint outside West Virginia. The divisions in the WVIAC were also rooted in the split between public and private schools, although the departing schools included institutions of both types.
At the time of the original announcement, the nine schools planned to expand to at least 12 members. Before the official launch of the conference on August 20, 2012, the MEC sought to add the WVIAC's other Pennsylvania member, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown; however, both Seton Hill and Pittsburgh–Johnstown chose to join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The MEC filled out its charter membership with another West Virginia school, Wheeling Jesuit University, today known as Wheeling University; two Ohio schools, Notre Dame College and Urbana University; and the University of Virginia's College at Wise (UVA Wise), located in Southwest Virginia. Wheeling Jesuit was a WVIAC member that had been left out of the original WVIAC split. Urbana and UVA Wise were members of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) in 2012–13, while Notre Dame was a Division II independent that had housed five of its 22 sports in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. UVA Wise, which had previously been turned down for WVIAC membership, was transitioning from the NAIA and did not officially become an active D-II member until 2015-16; all of the other charter members were already full D-II members.
At its launch, the MEC had 11 football members, with Wheeling (then known as Wheeling Jesuit) being the only non-football school. On February 15, 2013, the NCAA accepted the MEC as its 25th D2 conference. The 2015–16 school year was the first in which MEC teams were eligible for automatic bids to NCAA Division II championships; before then, they were eligible only for at-large bids.
In 2018 UVA–Wise and the South Atlantic Conference jointly announced on April 13 that UVA–Wise would leave the MEC to join the SAC for 2019–20 and beyond. Next, Shepherd and the PSAC jointly announced on June 7 that Shepherd would join the PSAC in 2019, becoming that league's first full member outside of Pennsylvania. The MEC would replace both members in the ensuing months. On July 5, the Mountain East Conference announced that Frostburg State University had accepted an offer of membership beginning with the 2019–20 academic year, contingent upon Frostburg State achieving active membership status in NCAA Division II (which would occur on the announced schedule). Finally, on August 30, the MEC announced two additional new members effective in 2019–20. Davis & Elkins College would become a full member, and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke would join in five sports. UNC Pembroke began MEC competition in men's and women's indoor track & field, women's swimming & diving, and wrestling in 2019, with football following in 2020.
The most recent MEC membership changes were announced in 2020. On April 16, multi-sport associate member UNC Pembroke announced it would join Conference Carolinas effective in 2021–22. Because CC sponsors all of the non-football sports that UNCP housed in the MEC, UNCP is now an MEC member only in football. Five days later, charter member Urbana announced it would close at the end of the 2019–20 school year. Finally, on June 5, Alderson Broaddus University, a West Virginia school left out of the WVIAC split, announced that it would leave the G-MAC to join the MEC the following month.
- Reclassifying member in yellow.
|Shepherd University||Shepherdstown, West Virginia||1871||Public||4,400||Rams||2013||2019||PSAC|
|Urbana University||Urbana, Ohio||1850||Private (Nonsectarian)||NA||Blue Knights||2013||2020||Closed end of 2019–20 academic year.|
|University of Virginia's College at Wise (UVA Wise)||Wise, Virginia||1954||Public||2,000||Cavaliers||2013||2019||SAC|
|Institution||Location||Founded||Type||Enrollment||Nickname||Colors||Primary Conference||MEC Sports||Joined|
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||Pembroke, North Carolina||1887||Public||5,827||Braves||Carolinas||Football||2020|
Former associate memberEdit
|Institution||Location||Founded||Type||Enrollment||Nickname||Colors||Primary Conference[a]||MEC Sports||Joined||Left||Current Conference[b]|
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||Pembroke, North Carolina||1887||Public||5,827||Braves||Peach Belt||Indoor track & field (M&W)
Swimming & diving (W)
- Reflects affiliation during the school's tenure as an MEC associate.
- In former MEC sports.
Full member (all sports) Full member (non-football) Associate member (football-only) Associate member (sport)
The MEC sponsored 16 sports in all, eight each for men and women, at its formation. Women's lacrosse became the 17th conference sport for the 2014–15 school year (2015 season). Men's and women's swimming and diving were added as the 18th and 19th conference sports for 2017–18, with the MEC and Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) forming a swimming and diving alliance that conducts a joint conference championship meet. The following school year saw the MEC add acrobatics & tumbling as an official sport, two years before it was added to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. The MEC was the first NCAA conference to establish acrobatics & tumbling as an official sport. The most recently added sports are men's and women's indoor track & field and wrestling, which debuted in 2019–20.
|A divisional format is used for basketball, baseball, and softball.|
|Acrobatics & tumbling|
|Swimming & Diving|
|Track & field (indoor)|
|Track & field (outdoor)|
Men's sponsored sports by schoolEdit
|Davis & Elkins||10|
|West Virginia State||5|
|West Virginia Wesleyan||10|
Women's sponsored sports by schoolEdit
|Davis & Elkins||11|
|West Virginia State||6|
|West Virginia Wesleyan||12|
Other sponsored sports by schoolEdit
|Lacrosse||Sprint football[a]||Volleyball[b]||Bowling[c]||Field Hockey||Rugby[d]||Triathlon[d]||Wrestling[d]|
|Davis & Elkins||G-MAC||IND|
- A weight-restricted form of football governed by the Collegiate Sprint Football League instead of the NCAA.
- De facto Division I sport. The NCAA operates a joint Division I/II championship, with D-I and D-II schools operating under the same scholarship limits.
- De facto Division I sport. The NCAA operates a single championship event open to members of all divisions, with D-I and D-II schools operating under the same scholarship limits.
- Included in the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program.
- Alderson Broaddus will presumably remain a G-MAC member in men's lacrosse after joining the MEC, as the MEC sponsors that sport only for women.
In addition to the above:
- Alderson Broaddus considers its cheerleaders (male and female) to be varsity athletes.
- Charleston considers its female cheerleaders (but not its male cheerleaders) to be varsity athletes.
- Glenville State considers its female cheerleaders (but not its male cheerleaders) to be varsity athletes. It also fields men's and women's teams in the non-NCAA sport of boxing.
- Notre Dame fields varsity teams in the non-NCAA sports of men's bowling and men's rugby.
- Wheeling fields a varsity team in the non-NCAA sport of men's rugby.
- "A Break Up For WVIAC". Charleston, WV: West Virginia Metro News. June 19, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Stevens, Rich (June 25, 2012). "More than meets eye in breakup of WVIAC". Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston, WV. p. 1. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Rine, Shawn (August 20, 2012). "Cards, Toppers Set To Jump Into New League". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News Register. Wheeling, WV. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Stevens, Rich (June 25, 2012). "More than meets eye in breakup of WVIAC". Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston, WV. p. 2. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "UVa–Wise Accepts Charter Membership in Mountain East Conference". Hazard, KY: WYMT-TV. August 20, 2012. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "NCAA Adds Mountain East Conference As Newest Division II League" (Press release). Mountain East Conference. February 15, 2013.
- "UVa-Wise to Join South Atlantic Conference in 2019-20" (Press release). UVA–Wise Cavaliers. April 13, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
- "Shepherd University to Join PSAC in 2019–20" (Press release). Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. June 7, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
- "Frostburg State Set To Join Mountain East Conference" (Press release). Bridgeport, West Virginia: Mountain East Conference. July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- "Davis & Elkins To Join MEC; UNC Pembroke To Be Associate Member" (Press release). Bridgeport, West Virginia: Mountain East Conference. August 30, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- "Conference Carolinas Announces Addition of Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke" (Press release). Conference Carolinas. April 16, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
- Smola, Jennifer (April 21, 2020). "Ohio's Urbana University to close due to coronavirus challenges, low enrollment". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
- "Alderson Broaddus to Join MEC" (Press release). Mountain East Conference. June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
- "Mountain East Conference to welcome Davis & Elkins as full member, UNC Pembroke as associate member". Charleston Gazette-Mail. August 30, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
- "Shepherd likely headed to new conference". The Journal. June 1, 2018.
- "UVa-Wise to Join South Atlantic Conference in 2019-20". University of Virginia's College at Wise Cavaliers. April 13, 2018.
- "Conference Carolinas Announces Addition of Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke" (Press release). Conference Carolinas. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
- "Great Midwest, Mountain East Form 2018 Conference Championship Event" (Press release). Great Midwest Athletic Conference. September 14, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- "MEC Adds Acrobatics & Tumbling to Championships Offering" (Press release). Mountain East Conference. April 9, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
- "Conference Carolinas to Sponsor Acrobatics and Tumbling in 2020-21 Athletic Year; Coker Joins as Affiliate Member in NCAA Emerging Sport" (Press release). Conference Carolinas. January 25, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
Conference Carolinas joins the Mountain East Conference as the only NCAA conferences to presently sponsor the sport.