Virginia–Virginia Tech rivalry

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Virginia Tech meets Virginia for the Hokies' first visit to John Paul Jones Arena on March 1, 2007. The Cavaliers won the game 69-56, and clinched a share of first place in the final ACC standings for their 5th regular season title.

The Virginia–Virginia Tech rivalry is an American college rivalry that exists between the Virginia Cavaliers sports teams of the University of Virginia and the Virginia Tech Hokies sports teams of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Both universities are currently members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In ACC sports that have divisional play, such as college baseball and college football, both compete in the ACC's Coastal Division.

In the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years, the program-wide rivalry was called the Commonwealth Challenge.[1] The Cavaliers won both years of the Challenge but future sponsorship was not sought out of respect for the Virginia Tech massacre. Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage stated at the time that "now is not the time to be talking about bragging rights." [2]

A renewed rivalry competition began for the 2014–15 season, called the "Commonwealth Clash."

Virginia and Virginia Tech had actually been conference rivals in the past prior to the latter joining the ACC - the two schools were in the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association together from 1907–22, then in the Southern Conference from 1922–37, when Virginia left (Tech would stay in the SoCon until the 1960s).

All-time and ACC series results[edit]

Sport All-time series record[3] ACC series record Last result Next meeting
Baseball UVA leads 94–84 UVA leads 22–9 VT won 6-5 on March 15, 2015 TBD
Men's Basketball UVA leads 88–53 UVA leads 14–8 UVA won 69–57 on February 28, 2015 TBD
Women's Basketball UVA leads 45–8 UVA leads 20–2 UVA won 73–59 on February 22, 2015 TBD
Football (Commonwealth Cup) VT leads 54–37–5 VT leads 11–0 VT won 24–20 on November 28, 2014 November 28, 2015 @ UVA
Women's Lacrosse UVA leads 20–1 UVA leads 10–1 UVA won 17–10 on April 17, 2015 TBD
Men's Soccer  UVA leads 29–2–3^ UVA leads 6–2–3 UVA won 1–0 on November 5, 2014 October 23, 2015 @ VT
Women's Soccer UVA leads 14–3–1 UVA leads 9–2 UVA won 2–0 on October 26, 2014 2016
Softball VT leads 32–21 VT leads 19–11 UVA won 5–2 on April 8, 2015 TBD
Men's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 26–2` UVA leads 8–2 VT won 218–135 on January 16, 2015 TBD
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 26–1` UVA leads 10–0 UVA won 156.5–143.5 on January 16, 2015 TBD
Men's Tennis UVA leads 53–8` UVA leads 11–0 UVA won 6-1 on April 5, 2015 TBD
Women's Tennis UVA leads 35–5` UVA leads 11–0 UVA won 5-2 on April 18, 2015 TBD
Volleyball UVA leads 33–31 VT leads 11–10 VT won 3–1 on November 14, 2014 October 4, 2015 @ UVA
Wrestling VT leads 39–27 VT leads 8–3 VT won 18–16 on February 1, 2015 January 31, 2016 @ UVA
TOTALS UVA leads 548–323–9 UVA leads 145–75–3  

Series led and games won by Virginia are shaded ██. Series led and games won by Virginia Tech shaded ██.

Regular-season head-to-head games/matches only
` No history summary on or

Commonwealth Challenge[edit]

Commonwealth Challenge
Virginia Tech (0) Virginia (2)

Now in the same conference, the two schools agreed to face off in a Commonwealth Challenge[4] across all sports in 2005. The Challenge continued through 2007, with the Cavaliers winning both years of the competition. It was discontinued "in the short term" after the Virginia Tech massacre, although a score was tallied on February 21, 2008 by the Roanoke Times using the scoring system of the previous two years. UVA would have been leading the 2007–2008 competition as of that date, 7 to 6.[5]

Year Result
2005–2006 UVA 14½–7½
2006–2007 UVA 14–8

Challenges won by Virginia are shaded ██.

Commonwealth Clash[edit]

On August 25, 2014, the two schools announced a new competition and scoring system between the two rivals, named the Commonwealth Clash. This new competition is sponsored by Virginia 529 College Savings Plan.[6] In contrast to the previous challenge, an additional fan-decided point will be issued as well. Each sport will be worth a single point (unless a split occurs in basketball and volleyball, in which case a half point will be awarded to each team) except that track and field is now considered two different sports, each with its own points, depending on whether it is contested inside or outside. This makes track and field worth 4 points total between the men's teams and women's teams.[7] Previously, sports had various values between 0.5 and 2.0 points.[8]

In the first year of the Clash, UVA was coincidentally recognized as having the #1 NCAA athletics program for men's sports, winning the Capital One Cup by virtue of winning the College Cup in soccer, the College World Series in baseball, and the NCAA Tennis Championships, all in a single academic year.[9]

Yearly records[edit]

UVA 15–7
Sport 2014–15
Baseball VT 1 point
Men's Basketball UVA 1 point
Women's Basketball UVA 1 point
Men's Cross Country UVA 1 point
Women's Cross Country UVA 1 point
Football (Commonwealth Cup) VT 1 point
Men's Golf UVA 1 point
Women's Lacrosse UVA 1 point
Men's Soccer UVA 1 point
Women's Soccer UVA 1 point
Softball UVA 0.5 point
VT 0.5 point
Men's Swimming/Diving VT 1 point
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA 1 point
Men's Tennis UVA 1 point
Women's Tennis UVA 1 point
Men's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point
Women's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point
Men's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point
Women's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point
Volleyball UVA 0.5 point
VT 0.5 point
Wrestling VT 1 point
Fan vote UVA 1 point



The Virginia/Virginia Tech rivalry has existed since the late 1800s, but has only come to preeminence in the last twenty years. Traditionally, Virginia's primary rival has been the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- known as the South's Oldest Rivalry. Virginia Tech's rival was the Virginia Military Institute, with whom they shared a military tradition and similar acronyms (VMI vs. VPI).

The UVA/Virginia Tech rivalry began in earnest in 1899, a year that saw Virginia take on northern powerhouses Penn and Michigan. Virginia's final game of the season was against a squad in the middle of a disastrous first full season, a fledgling land grant school in Blacksburg, Virginia, that had only just progressed into a four-year campus- Virginia Polytechnic Institute. That game, a 28-0 decision for Virginia, was a footnote in their 4-3-2 season that year- but for at least one Virginia Tech student, it was much more.

Hunter Carpenter, a 15-year-old from Clifton Forge, enrolled at Virginia Tech in 1898. Though he had never touched a football prior to enrolling at Tech, following the blowout of the 1899 game, he became a man possessed by one thing- beating Virginia in football. However, after five years of college, Hunter Carpenter graduated from Virginia Tech without achieving his goal. Infuriated, he transferred to the University of North Carolina. "I just want to beat the University of Virginia," Carpenter was quoted as saying by the Associated Press, in reference to his move to Chapel Hill. However, as a standout on the Tar Heels' football squad, he again failed to win against Virginia for two years in a row.[11]

Carpenter returned to Virginia Tech in 1905 for a last shot at beating Virginia. Going into the 1905 game, Tech was 0-8 against UVA by a cumulative 170-5 score. The Cavalier Daily, student paper of the University of Virginia, ran a story outlining Carpenter's motives and move from Virginia Tech to the University of North Carolina, and then back to Virginia Tech. Virginia accused Carpenter of being a "professional" player- as eligibility rules were much looser back then, it was not uncommon in those days for players in their mid to late twenties to travel from school to school, loaning their services out to football powerhouses such as Ohio State and Alabama to give them an edge in rivalry games.[11]

Carpenter signed an affidavit that he was an amateur player and, against a backdrop of recrimination, the game was finally played. Carpenter scored, and Tech took an 11-0 lead. Carpenter was ejected midway through the game for throwing the ball at the face of a Virginia defender, but stayed on the sidelines to watch as neither team was able to score against each other. Carpenter left immediately after the game and moved to Middleton, New York, never to return to the Commonwealth. The University of Virginia refused to play Virginia Tech again until 1923.[11]


Some from outside the state believe the rivalry to be a bitter one; analogies have been made to the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears rivalry, in both its intensity and scope. Former Ohio State quarterback and football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said in 2004 that he "never realized how much those people hate each other." He went on to say "when I was down in Blacksburg, I said some nice things about Al Groh and it was like I had turned my back on them."[12]

One point of mockery is Cavalier fans referencing Virginia Tech's never winning an NCAA team national championship,[13][14] compared to Virginia's 23 NCAA titles through June 2015.[15] UVa fans also make jokes regarding Virginia Tech's club bass fishing team winning a national championship in 2007.[16][17]

Virginia Tech joins ACC[edit]

In 2003, the Atlantic Coast Conference initially planned to add Boston College, Miami, and Syracuse to the conference lineup. Talks with Syracuse stalled as Jim Boeheim vocalized his opposition to the move, and Duke, UNC, and Virginia consistently voted against adding the Orange. When it became obvious that Syracuse lacked the necessary seven votes, Virginia Tech emerged as a compromise candidate put forward to win over the decisive seventh vote from the University of Virginia that ACC officials needed to gain approval for their expansion plans.

Virginia Governor Mark Warner earlier had blocked the University of Virginia from casting an affirmative vote for the conference's plan to invite Miami, Syracuse, and Boston College to leave the Big East Conference and join the ACC. Warner feared that such a move would hurt Virginia Tech by leaving it in a diminished Big East.[18]

U.Va. President John T. Casteen III therefore offered a plan to have the ACC consider Virginia Tech on June 18, 2003.[19] Duke and UNC voted against the Hokies, but with Casteen's support Virginia Tech was invited to the conference with 7 out of 9 votes. Miami and Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004, with Boston College joining in 2005.

The primary significance of this development to the rivalry was that the athletic teams from the two schools would now be mandated to play every year. For instance, the men's college soccer teams did not face each other in any of the four seasons between 2000 and 2003. They have since met every year after Virginia Tech became a conference member in 2004. Additionally, in some sports where there was already an agreement to play each other on an annual basis, the teams might now play more than once. For instance, the men's college basketball teams had played each other annually since the 1934-35 season but not faced each other twice in the same season since 1983-84. Starting with the 2004-05 season, the teams have played at least twice each year, and in 2005-06 the teams met for a third time in the ACC Tournament.

Impact of the Virginia Tech massacre[edit]

Many fans on both sides of the rivalry have reported a lessening of hostilities between the two universities while maintaining the same intensity of the rivalry in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. According to The Washington Post "students in both camps are more apt to think of themselves as simply Virginians." UVa students were amongst the first university students to lend support to the comrades at Virginia Tech in the wake of the shootings. Likewise, the connections between the two university's populations are often very close. Prior to the 2007 football contest in Charlottesville both college's bands participated in a joint performance.[20]

UVa.'s student newspaper reported that students in Charlottesville were even sporting Hokie sweatshirts on occasion in observance of the tragedy. The University's Z Society went so far as unveiling a 65' x 120' Virginia Pride flag featuring both UVA and VT logos on it during the annual football game, and it was noted that the two fan bases had never been so close as they were after the shootings.


  1. ^ "Commonwealth Challenge". 
  2. ^ Doughty, Doug (2008-02-21). "Bragging rights taken off the table". The Roanoke Times. 
  3. ^ Sources: and
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Bragging rights taken off the table". Roanoke Times. 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  6. ^ "Commonwealth Clash Adds to Historic Rivalry Between UVa and Virginia Tech". The University of Virginia Official Athletic Site. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Rivalry". Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Commonwealth Challenge presented by Comcast". Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Capital One Cup Standings, accessed July 16, 2015
  10. ^ "2014–2015 Schedule/Results". The Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Brady, Erik (2007-11-22). "Virginia allegiances driven by rivalry on football field". College Football Update (USA Today). 
  12. ^ "Tech-UVa relationship eye-opening for Herbstreit". Roanoke Times. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  13. ^ "OT: LOLUVA still feels good about their lacrosse and rowing championships!". The Key Play. January 27, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Virginia Tech Hokies National Championship Tracker". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  15. ^ "UVa Baseball Wins College World Series Championship". WVIR. June 25, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  16. ^ Leung, Brian (February 20, 2012). "Virginia Cavaliers National Championship Tracker". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  17. ^ Bedrosian, Alyssa (April 6, 2011). "Bass fishing team angling to bring home national title". Collegiate Times. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  18. ^ "ACC to invite Virginia Tech". The Washington Times. June 19, 2003. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  19. ^ ACC Will Reconsider Hokies for Expansion; Adding Virginia Tech Would Make It a 13-Team League | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  20. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-23). "After Tragedy, Hokies and Cavs Take Field as Virginians All". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  21. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-24). "Why are rivalries so intense?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  22. ^ "Tragedy vs. rivalry". The Cavalier Daily. 2007-11-19. Archived from the original on 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-05-11.