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 their fifth of nine ACC season titles. If VT had won, they would have had their first.

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, commonly known as Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers and Hokies have a program-wide rivalry first called the Commonwealth Challenge which UVA swept 2–0 before ending the series in a show of sportsmanship following the Virginia Tech massacre. A new series called Commonwealth Clash, played under new rules, is tied 2–2 as of 2018. Virginia leads the rivalry series in the majority of sports.

Both universities are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. In sports that have divisional play, such as college baseball and college football, both compete in the Coastal division of the conference. Despite different or no conference affiliations from 1937 to 2004, Virginia and Virginia Tech always maintained athletic ties and were annual rivals in a great many sports.

All-time and ACC series results[edit]

Sport All-time series record[1] ACC series record Last result Next meeting
Baseball UVA leads 101–86 UVA leads 29–11 UVA won 6–5 on April 8, 2018 May 16–18, 2019 @ VT
Men's Basketball UVA leads 93–56 UVA leads 20–11 UVA won 64–58 on Feb. 18, 2019 Spring 2020
Women's Basketball UVA leads 50–11 UVA leads 25–5 VT won 63–45 on Feb. 28, 2019 Spring 2020
Football (Commonwealth Cup) VT leads 58–37–5 VT leads 15–0 VT won 34–31 on Nov. 23, 2018 Nov 29, 2019 @ UVA
Women's Lacrosse UVA leads 22–2 UVA leads 12–2 VT won 16–12 on April 21, 2018 Apr. 20, 2019 @ UVA
Men's Soccer UVA leads 31–2–5 UVA leads 8–2–5 UVA & VT tied 1-1 on Sept 7, 2018 Fall 2019
Women's Soccer UVA leads 15–4–1 UVA leads 10–3 VT won 1–0 on September 27, 2018 Fall 2019
Softball VT leads 43–22 VT leads 30–12 VT won 7-0 on April 13, 2019 Spring 2020
Men's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 28–4 UVA leads 10–4 UVA won 159–140 on Jan. 12, 2019 Fall 2019
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 30–1 UVA leads 14–0 UVA won 171–115 on Jan. 12, 2019 Spring 2020
Men's Tennis UVA leads 56–9 UVA leads 14–1 UVA won 4–2 on April 14, 2019 Spring 2019
Women's Tennis UVA leads 39–5 UVA leads 15–0 UVA won 6-1 on Feb. 24, 2019 Spring 2020
Volleyball VT leads 37–35 VT leads 17–12 UVA won 3–2 on November 9, 2018 Fall 2019
Wrestling VT leads 42–27 VT leads 11–3 VT won 30-6 on Feb. 16, 2019 TBD
TOTALS UVA leads 586–361–11 UVA leads 184–113–5

Series led and games won by Virginia are shaded ██. Series led and games won by Virginia Tech shaded ██. Head-to-head games/matches only

Conference, Sponsorship, Relative Popularity and Success[edit]

UVA has been a member of the ACC since 1953, while Virginia Tech was invited in 2004. Both athletics programs are also sponsored by Nike.[2] The Cavaliers are signed with Nike through 2025, at $3.5 million per year.[2] The Hokies are also signed with Nike through 2022, at $1.98 million per year.[2] Virginia had the third (after FSU and Louisville) highest ACC total athletics revenue, with $91 million in 2014–2015.[3] Virginia Tech was sixth, drawing $80 million.[3]

Moreover, UVA polled as the slightly more popular college sports program in their home state as of 2015 — with Virginia residents choosing the Cavaliers over the Hokies by a margin of 34% to 28% — despite UVA having fewer students and a smaller alumni base.[4] The first and only Fan Vote of the Commonwealth Clash, also in 2015, bore this out as there were slightly more Cavalier fans than Hokie fans in the final tally which allowed UVA to take the point.

The Cavaliers won the Capital One Cup for fielding the top overall men's athletics program in the entire nation in 2015 and the Wahoos also lead all 15 ACC programs in all-time NCAA titles for men's sports with 19. Virginia is also tied for second place in the conference in women's sports. UVA's recent national championships include winning the 2019 NCAA Tournament Championship in men's basketball, the 2015 College World Series in baseball, and the 2014 College Cup in men's soccer. Virginia Tech is one of two overall programs in the ACC still awaiting its first national title in any team sport.

Commonwealth Challenge & Clash[edit]

Commonwealth Challenge
UVA won, 2–0
Virginia Athletics wordmark.svg
Virginia (2) Virginia Tech (0)

Now in the same conference, the two schools agreed to face off in a Commonwealth Challenge[5] across all sports in 2005. The Challenge continued through 2007, with the Cavaliers winning both years of the competition. 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."[6]

Commonwealth Clash
VT & UVA tied, 2–2
Commonwealth Clash Virginia VT rivalry.jpg
Virginia (2) Virginia Tech (2)

In August 2014, the two schools announced a renewed rivalry competition and new scoring system between the two schools, named the Commonwealth Clash. This new competition is sponsored by Virginia 529 College Savings Plan.[7] VT and UVA are now tied in the new series 2–2.

Each meeting in a sport is worth a single point in the Clash. In basketball and volleyball, where the two schools meet twice per season, each individual game is worth one-half point. In baseball and softball, the point is awarded to the winner of the series, with a split of a two- or four-game series earning one-half point each. A tied game in soccer also awards one-half point each. In sports where teams participate in meets or tournaments instead of head-to-head – cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, and men's and women's golf – the school that finishes higher in the ACC championship earns the point. Swimming and diving also falls under this category, even though the two schools schedule annual meets against each other; this meeting does not count toward the Clash.[8]

If there is a tie in points on the field, the first tiebreaker is the greater number of ACC championships in common sports, followed by the greater number of honor roll athletes in common sports. This happened for the first time in 2016–17; Virginia Tech won the Clash by capturing four ACC championships to Virginia's one.[8]

Yearly records[edit]

Yearly Result
Overall Clash series
UVA 15–7
UVA led 1–0
UVA 14–7
UVA led 2–0
VT wins first tiebreaker 4–1
UVA led 2–1
VT 12.5–8.5
VT & UVA tied 2–2
VT 8.5–7.5
Sport 2014–15[9] 2015–16 2016–17 2017-18 2018-19
Men's Soccer UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA / VT 0.5 UVA 1 point UVA / VT 0.5
Women's Soccer UVA 1 point Did Not Play UVA 1 point Did Not Play VT 1 point
Men's Cross Country UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point VT 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Cross Country UVA 1 point UVA 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Volleyball UVA / VT 0.5 UVA / VT 0.5 VT 1 point VT 1 point UVA / VT 0.5
Football VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Basketball UVA 1 point UVA / VT 0.5 UVA / VT 0.5 UVA / VT 0.5 UVA 1 point
Women's Basketball UVA 1 point VT 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA / VT 0.5
Wrestling VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Swimming/Diving VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Men's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point UVA 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Women's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point UVA 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Tennis UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point VT 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Tennis UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Men's Golf UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Golf Did Not Play UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Lacrosse UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point VT 1 point
Baseball VT 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Softball UVA / VT 0.5 VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Women's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point UVA 1 point VT 1 point VT 1 point
Fan vote UVA 1 point No Vote Held No Vote Held No Vote Held No Vote Held

Intensity and Pranks[edit]

Some from outside the state find the rivalry to be an especially bitter one. 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."[10]

In 2011, students from Virginia Tech put a tee shirt from their school on a statue of Thomas Jefferson located on The Lawn, after Virginia Tech's football team won the yearly matchup.[11]


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 suggested the NCAA intervene and mediate the expansion process, and when that failed added pressure to UVA President John Casteen to refrain from casting an affirmative vote for the conference's plan to expand without Virginia Tech.[12] Warner feared that such a move would hurt Virginia Tech by leaving it in a diminished Big East.[13] UVA President John T. Casteen III then offered a plan to have the ACC expand but consider Virginia Tech in lieu of Syracuse on June 18, 2003.[14] 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]

In addition to ending the original Commonwealth Challenge, the Virginia Tech massacre had the effect of lessening of hostilities between the two universities during the aftermath. According to The Washington Post "students in both camps are more apt to think of themselves as simply Virginians." UVa students were among the first to lend support to the Virginia Tech community 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.[15]

...there was the sense among Tech students that fans of U-Va. – an institution founded by none other than Thomas Jefferson – looked down their noses at the mountain-ensconced Hokies of Blacksburg. Hokies were "hicks"; Cavaliers were "snobs." But after the shootings in April, something changed. U-Va. students and faculty members wrote condolence letters, held a candlelight vigil and even painted the campus's fabled Beta Bridge with a pro-Hokies phrase.

— Jonathan Mummolo, The Washington Post[16]

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.

Since the tragedy, it hasn't been so odd to see a Wahoo wearing a Virginia Tech sweatshirt. Since April, transfer students haven't felt so awkward saying they used to attend school in Blacksburg. Truly, Hokies and Wahoos have never been so together.

— Eric Kolenich, The Cavalier Daily[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sources: and
  2. ^ a b c UVA signs lucrative Nike deal, accessed August 13, 2015
  3. ^ a b Parsing Virginia Tech's athletic department revenue figures, accessed April 18, 2016
  4. ^ Public Policy Poll on Va. topics, released July 21, 2015; accessed July 25, 2015
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-28. Retrieved 2011-12-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Doughty, Doug (2008-02-21). "Bragging rights taken off the table". The Roanoke Times.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ a b "Commonwealth Clash Point System". Commonwealth Clash.
  9. ^ "2014–2015 Schedule/Results". The Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Tech-UVa relationship eye-opening for Herbstreit". Roanoke Times. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
  11. ^ "Virginia Tech Pranksters Play Dress-Up With Mr. Jefferson". Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  12. ^ Obstacles Piling Up in ACC Expansion Path, accessed March 6, 2016
  13. ^ "ACC to invite Virginia Tech". The Washington Times. June 19, 2003. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  14. ^ ACC Will Reconsider Hokies for Expansion; Adding Virginia Tech Would Make It a 13-Team League | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  15. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-23). "After Tragedy, Hokies and Cavs Take Field as Virginians All". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  16. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-24). "Why are rivalries so intense?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
  17. ^ "Tragedy vs. rivalry". The Cavalier Daily. 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2008-05-11.