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Monday, June 18, 2012
Today I received an e-mailed letter from Robin Capehart, president of West Liberty University, informing me of the intended departure of nine member institutions from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), of which we are a member, to form a new conference. The plan calls for the new league to begin competition in the fall of 2013. The upcoming 2012-2013 academic year would not be affected.
This news was unexpected. No prior contacts had been made with A-B College about this possible departure of member institutions or about establishing a new conference.
Departing schools include 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. A total of six colleges will remain in the WVIAC, including Alderson-Broaddus College, Bluefield State College, Davis & Elkins College, Ohio Valley University, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and Wheeling Jesuit University.
In a WV Metro News article, Reid Amos, Vice President of Broadcasting at West Liberty University and spokesman for the new conference, said the move was fueled by the desire to create a conference of like-minded football playing schools. “The consensus among the leadership of the WVIAC institutions currently playing football is that it is in the best interest of their institutions to align as part of a new 12 member all-sports conference that will create increased exposure for its members across a regional footprint,” said Amos.
According to WVIAC conference commissioner, Barry Blizzard, very soon the NCAA will require 10 active institutions to be an active NCAA Division II conference. This means that the future of the WVIAC is probably not viable.
My preference would have been to maintain the longstanding athletic rivalries we have enjoyed with our member schools throughout the years. However, my administration is now in a fact-finding mode to determine how we can best serve A-B College in our conference affiliation while forging ahead with our strategic plan. This includes the completion of our multi-purpose stadium now well under construction, welcoming the biggest freshman class in the history of the College, and planning for the growth of our academic programs and facilities.
I will continue to keep you apprised of developments and decisions in the days ahead. I appreciate your enthusiasm, support, and prayers as we move forward.
President Rick Creehan