Mountain East Conference
|Mountain East Conference
|Sports fielded||16 (men's: 8; women's: 8)|
|Region||West Virginia, Virginia, and Ohio|
|Headquarters||Bridgeport, West Virginia|
|Commissioner||Reid Amos (since 2012)|
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 charter members in Ohio and Virginia.
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; 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 are members of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in 2012-2013, 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, is transitioning from the NAIA and will not officially become an active D-II member until 2015-16 based on its continued successful progress through the NCAA Membership Process; all of the other charter members are currently full D-II members.
At its launch, the MEC had 11 football members, with Wheeling Jesuit being the only non-football school. On February 15, 2013, the NCAA accepted the MEC as its 25th D2 conference. MEC teams will not be eligible for automatic bids to NCAA Division II championships until the 2015–16 school year, but remain eligible for at-large bids.
According to the official announcement, the MEC sponsors the following sports:
- "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. 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. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "UVa–Wise Accepts Charter Membership in Mountain East Conference". Hazard, KY: WYMT-TV. August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "NCAA Adds Mountain East Conference As Newest DIvision II League" (Press release). Mountain East Conference. February 15, 2013.