Virginia–Virginia Tech rivalry
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 called the Commonwealth Clash, which is tied 2–2 as of 2018. The schools had a similar competition earlier in the 2000s called the Commonwealth Challenge, which UVA won 2–0. While Virginia leads the rivalry series in the majority of sports, Virginia Tech has won a record 14 straight Commonwealth Cups in football as of 2017 and won their first Commonwealth Clash via a tiebreaker in 2017.
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.
The Cavaliers were Independent from 1937 to 1953. The Hokies remained in the Southern Conference until 1965, and were Independent from 1965 to 1978. Virginia Tech then had stints in the Metro Conference, Atlantic 10 Conference, and Big East Conference before joining the Cavaliers in the ACC. 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
|Sport||All-time series record||ACC series record||Last result||Next meeting|
|Baseball||UVA leads 101–86||UVA leads 29–11||UVA won 6–5 on April 8, 2018||TBD|
|Men's Basketball||UVA leads 91–56||UVA leads 18–11||VT won 61-60 on Feb. 10, 2018||TBD|
|Women's Basketball||UVA leads 49–10||UVA leads 24–4||UVA won 64–62 on Feb. 11, 2018||TBD|
|Football (Commonwealth Cup)||VT leads 57–37–5||VT leads 14–0||VT won 10–0 on Nov. 24, 2017||Nov 23, 2018 @ VT|
|Women's Lacrosse||UVA leads 22–2||UVA leads 12–2||VT won 16–12 on April 21, 2018||TBD|
|Men's Soccer||UVA leads 31–2–4||UVA leads 8–2–4||UVA won 2-1 on September 15, 2017||Sept 7, 2018 @ UVA|
|Women's Soccer||UVA leads 15–3–1||UVA leads 10–2||UVA won 2–0 on September 16, 2016||TBD|
|Softball||VT leads 40–22||VT leads 27–12||VT won 3-2 on April 14, 2018||TBD|
|Men's Swimming/Diving||UVA leads 27–4||UVA leads 9–4||VT won 218–133 on Jan. 13, 2018||TBD|
|Women's Swimming/Diving||UVA leads 29–1||UVA leads 13–0||UVA won 189.5-163.5 on Jan. 13, 2018||TBD|
|Men's Tennis||UVA leads 55–9||UVA leads 13–1||VT won 4–3 on April 22, 2018||TBD|
|Women's Tennis||UVA leads 38–5||UVA leads 14–0||UVA won 6-1 on April 7, 2018||TBD|
|Volleyball||VT leads 36–34||VT leads 16–11||VT won 3–2 on November 22, 2017||Sept 23, 2018 @ VT|
|Wrestling||VT leads 42–27||VT leads 11–3||VT won 22-18 on Feb. 11, 2018||TBD|
|TOTALS||UVA leads 578–353–10||UVA leads 176–105–4|
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
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. The Cavaliers are signed with Nike through 2025, at $3.5 million per year. The Hokies are also signed with Nike through 2022 but receive significantly less, at $1.98 million per year. Virginia had the third (after FSU and Louisville) highest ACC total athletics revenue, with $91 million in 2014–2015. Virginia Tech was sixth, drawing $80 million.
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. 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 18 (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, is still awaiting its first NCAA title in any sport. Pittsburgh joins the Hokies as the only two ACC programs which lack any team NCAA championships (though the Panthers do claim a few football titles, not affiliated with the NCAA).
Commonwealth Challenge and Clash
|Virginia (2)||Virginia Tech (0)|
Now in the same conference, the two schools agreed to face off in a Commonwealth Challenge 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."
Challenges won by Virginia are shaded ██.
|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. VT and UVA are now tied in the new series 2–2.
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, as internet voting is not a sport. 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)  (Previously, sports had various values between 0.5 and 2 points.) The Hokies and UVA tied in 2016–17, 11–11. VT won 4 ACC championships while UVA only won 1, so VT won the tiebreaker and brought home their first Commonwealth Clash win. In 2017-2018, the Hokies improved upon their 2016-2017 results to win the clash outright 12.5-8.5.
Overall Clash series
UVA led 1–0
UVA led 2–0
VT wins tiebreaker
UVA led 2–1
VT & UVA tied 2–2
|Men's Soccer||UVA 1 point||UVA 1 point||UVA / VT 0.5||UVA 1 point|
|Women's Soccer||UVA 1 point||Did Not Play||UVA 1 point||Did Not Play|
|Men's Cross Country||UVA 1 point||UVA 1 point||UVA 1 point||VT 1 point|
|Women's Cross Country||UVA 1 point||UVA 1 point||VT 1 point||VT 1 point|
|Volleyball||UVA / VT 0.5||UVA / VT 0.5||VT 1 point||VT 1 point|
|Football||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|
|Women's Basketball||UVA 1 point||VT 1 point||UVA 1 point||UVA 1 point|
|Wrestling||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|
|Women's Swimming/Diving||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|
|Women's Indoor Track and Field||VT 1 point||UVA 1 point||VT 1 point||VT 1 point|
|Men's Tennis||UVA 1 point||UVA 1 point||UVA 1 point||VT 1 point|
|Women's Tennis||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|
|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|
*2016-2017 finished in an 11–11 tie on the field, and so the title was decided on a tiebreaker of ACC Championships for that year
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."
Virginia Tech joins ACC
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. Warner feared that such a move would hurt Virginia Tech by leaving it in a diminished Big East. 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. 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
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.
...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.
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.
- "Commonwealth Challenge". hokiesports.com.
- Sources: hokiesports.com and virginiasports.com
- UVA signs lucrative Nike deal, accessed August 13, 2015
- Parsing Virginia Tech's athletic department revenue figures, accessed April 18, 2016
- Public Policy Poll on Va. topics, released July 21, 2015; accessed July 25, 2015
- Doughty, Doug (2008-02-21). "Bragging rights taken off the table". The Roanoke Times.
- "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.
- "Rivalry". Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Commonwealth Challenge presented by Comcast". hokiesports.com. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "2014–2015 Schedule/Results". The Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Tech-UVa relationship eye-opening for Herbstreit". Roanoke Times. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- Obstacles Piling Up in ACC Expansion Path, accessed March 6, 2016
- "ACC to invite Virginia Tech". The Washington Times. June 19, 2003. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- ACC Will Reconsider Hokies for Expansion; Adding Virginia Tech Would Make It a 13-Team League | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
- Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-23). "After Tragedy, Hokies and Cavs Take Field as Virginians All". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
- Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-24). "Why are rivalries so intense?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- "Tragedy vs. rivalry". The Cavalier Daily. 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2008-05-11.