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 ACC season title. 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. The Cavaliers and Hokies have a program-wide rivalry called the Commonwealth Clash, which UVA leads 2–0 as of 2016. The schools had a similar competition earlier in the 2000s called the Commonwealth Challenge, which UVA won 2–0.[1]

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. 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, at which point the Cavaliers departed. It would be sixty-seven years before they shared a conference again.

All-time and ACC series results[edit]

Sport All-time series record[2] ACC series record Last result Next meeting
Baseball UVA leads 97–84 UVA leads 25–9 UVA won 4–1 on May 21, 2016 TBD
Men's Basketball UVA leads 89–54 UVA leads 15–9 UVA won 67–49 on Feb. 9, 2016 TBD
Women's Basketball UVA leads 45–10 UVA leads 20–4 VT won 60–55 on Feb. 28, 2016 TBD
Football (Commonwealth Cup) VT leads 55–37–5 VT leads 12–0 VT won 23–20 on Nov. 28, 2015 Nov. 29, 2016 @ VT
Women's Lacrosse UVA leads 21–1 UVA leads 11–1 UVA won 14–7 on April 22, 2016 TBD
Men's Soccer  UVA leads 30–2–3 UVA leads 7–2–3 UVA won 1–0 on October 23, 2015 TBD
Women's Soccer UVA leads 14–3–1 UVA leads 9–2 UVA won 2–0 on October 26, 2014 2016
Softball VT leads 35–21 VT leads 22–11 VT won 10–7 on April 30, 2016 TBD
Men's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 26–3 UVA leads 8–3 VT won 212.5–140.5 on 1/16/16 2017
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 27–1 UVA leads 11–0 UVA won 258–95 on Jan. 16, 2016 2017
Men's Tennis UVA leads 54–8` UVA leads 12–0 UVA won 6–1 on March 6, 2016 2017
Women's Tennis UVA leads 36–5` UVA leads 12–0 UVA won 6–1 on April 10, 2016 TBD
Volleyball UVA leads 34–32 VT leads 12–11 VT won 3–2 on Nov. 28, 2015 TBD
Wrestling VT leads 40–27 VT leads 9–3 VT won 31–7 on Jan. 31, 2016 TBD @ VT
TOTALS UVA leads 558–333–9 UVA leads 155–85–3  

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.[3] The Cavaliers are signed with Nike through 2025, at $3.5 million per year.[3] The Hokies are also signed with Nike through 2022 but receive significantly less, at $1.98 million per year.[3] Moreover, UVA is the most popular overall college sports program in Virginia as of 2015 — with the state splitting 34% for the Cavaliers versus 28% for the Hokies — despite UVA having fewer students and a smaller alumni base than its rival Virginia Tech.[4]

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 16 (North Carolina leads in women's titles, with Virginia and Duke tied for second place). Virginia Tech, although it has had successes against Virginia in several individual sports (most sustained in football) and like Virginia has won titles in individual track and field events,[5] is still awaiting its first NCAA title in any sport. Pittsburgh joins the Hokies as the only two ACC programs which lack any team national championships.

Virginia had the third (after FSU and Louisville) highest ACC athletics revenue, out of fifteen programs, with $91 million in 2014–2015.[6] Virginia Tech was sixth, drawing $80 million.[6]

Commonwealth Challenge and Clash[edit]

Commonwealth Challenge
UVA won, 2–0
Virginia Cavaliers wordmark.png
Virginia (2) Virginia Tech (0)
2005–06
2006–07
none

Now in the same conference, the two schools agreed to face off in a Commonwealth Challenge[7] 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."[8] After it was discontinued "in the short term" after the Virginia Tech massacre, a score was tallied on February 21, 2008 by The Roanoke Times using the scoring system of the previous two years; UVA would have again been leading the 2007–08 competition as of that date, 7 to 6.[9]

Year Result
2005–06 UVA 14½–7½
2006–07 UVA 14–8

Challenges won by Virginia are shaded ██.

Commonwealth Clash
UVA leads, 2–0
Commonwealth Clash Virginia VT rivalry.jpg
Virginia (2) Virginia Tech (0)
2014–15
2015–16
none

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.[10] UVA also leads the new series 2–0, and the combination of series 4–0.

A new Fan Vote was added as part of the new Clash. UVA fans won the only Fan Vote held, defeating Hokie fans to add another point to UVA's tally in a 15–7 overall victory in 2014–15. The Fan Vote was then discontinued without explanation for the following year. Each sport is worth a single point in the Clash (when a split occurs in sports with two meetings, a half point is 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 an outsized 4 points total between the men's teams and women's teams.[11] (Previously, sports had various values between 0.5 and 2 points.)[12]

The programs do not square off in all sports, as Virginia Tech does not field as many teams. For instance, the celebrated UVA men's lacrosse team (with multiple national titles) has never played against a Hokie team and is therefore not a participant in the Clash. Virginia Tech does have a women's lacrosse team, but has yet to field a squad to compete in the men's game. Other ACC varsity sports Virginia fields teams in, but Virginia Tech does not, are field hockey and rowing (another sport where UVA won recent NCAA titles, in 2010 and 2012).

Yearly records[edit]

UVA 15–7
UVA led 1–0
UVA 14–7
UVA leads 2–0
Sport 2014–15[13] 2015–16
Men's Soccer UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Soccer UVA 1 point Did Not Play
Men's Cross Country UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Cross Country UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Volleyball UVA / VT 0.5 UVA / VT 0.5
Football VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Basketball UVA 1 point UVA / VT 0.5
Women's Basketball UVA 1 point VT 1 point
Wrestling VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Swimming/Diving VT 1 point VT 1 point
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Men's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point UVA 1 point
Men's Tennis UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Tennis UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Men's Golf UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Golf Did Not Play UVA 1 point
Women's Lacrosse UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Baseball VT 1 point UVA 1 point
Softball UVA / VT 0.5 VT 1 point
Men's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point VT 1 point
Women's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Fan vote UVA 1 point No Vote Held

Intensity[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."[14]

History[edit]

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.[15] Warner feared that such a move would hurt Virginia Tech by leaving it in a diminished Big East.[16] 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.[17] 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.

At the ten-year anniversary of this event, the Daily Press found that "ACC membership has enhanced Tech athletics financially, competitively, and academically. And while the Hokies’ non-revenue sports don’t approach the elite level enjoyed by league rivals such as Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, and Florida State, they have improved exponentially."[18]

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 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.[19]

...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[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.

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[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Commonwealth Challenge". hokiesports.com. 
  2. ^ Sources: hokiesports.com and virginiasports.com
  3. ^ a b c UVA signs lucrative Nike deal, accessed August 13, 2015
  4. ^ Public Policy Poll on Va. topics, released July 21, 2015; accessed July 25, 2015
  5. ^ http://www.hokiesports.com/track/nationalchamps.html
  6. ^ a b Parsing Virginia Tech's athletic department revenue figures, accessed April 18, 2016
  7. ^ http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/9969.asp?q=Virginia-and-Virginia-Tech-to-Tangle-in-Commonwealth-Challenge
  8. ^ Doughty, Doug (2008-02-21). "Bragging rights taken off the table". The Roanoke Times. 
  9. ^ "Bragging rights taken off the table". Roanoke Times. 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ "Rivalry". Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Commonwealth Challenge presented by Comcast". hokiesports.com. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "2014–2015 Schedule/Results". The Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Tech-UVa relationship eye-opening for Herbstreit". Roanoke Times. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  15. ^ Obstacles Piling Up in ACC Expansion Path, accessed March 6, 2016
  16. ^ "ACC to invite Virginia Tech". The Washington Times. June 19, 2003. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  17. ^ ACC Will Reconsider Hokies for Expansion; Adding Virginia Tech Would Make It a 13-Team League | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  18. ^ Marking 10-year anniversary of ACC's invitation to Virginia Tech, accessed February 17, 2016.
  19. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-23). "After Tragedy, Hokies and Cavs Take Field as Virginians All". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  20. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-24). "Why are rivalries so intense?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  21. ^ "Tragedy vs. rivalry". The Cavalier Daily. 2007-11-19. Archived from the original on 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-05-11.