The EIVA is expanding south and now has a foothold in West Virginia.
EIVA commissioner Ivan Marquez announced Thursday that its seven members unanimously voted to add Charleston to the conference for the 2016 season.
Charleston this season became the first NCAA Division II college in West Virginia to add a men’s volleyball program. In addition, the Golden Eagles in their inaugural season are 3-10 and have upcoming non-conference matches this weekend against current EIVA members St. Francis and NJIT.
“On behalf of our EIVA, our institutions, and our great sport we welcome the University of Charleston in West Virginia to our family,” Marquez said in a statement. “It is evidently clear that President [Edwin] Welch and athletics director [Bren] Stevens run a first class operation that exudes genuine innovation, support, and enthusiasm. Division II is demonstrating that they are leading the current growth of NCAA men’s volleyball and we are hoping that this great accomplishment of the University of Charleston will inspire many other institutions to join in sponsoring this exciting sport showcasing wonderful student-athletes, coaches, and campuses.”
Charleston will be the only NCAA Division II school in the eight-team EIVA. It also will be the first school to join EIVA in almost a decade once it is formally accepted into the conference at the annual EIVA league meeting in May.
Welch said in a statement being able to join the EIVA is an ideal situation for Charleston that will not only help grow the men’s volleyball program but enhance the entire school’s reputation.
“Men’s volleyball is an important addition to UC’s strong Division II athletic program,” he said. “Joining the EIVA is a dream come true for expanding our region of competition, pushing our athletes toward excellence, and bringing world renowned universities to play in front of their West Virginia alumni.”
The EIVA is one of the oldest college volleyball conferences in the nation and is one of four conferences that receive an automatic bid to the men’s volleyball Division I-II NCAA Tournament.
Penn State has won 16 consecutive EIVA championships and is the only school from the EIVA to win a NCAA title.
No. 13 Princeton is also currently highest ranked team from the EIVA in the national coaches poll.
“Almost every young man playing volleyball in the Midwest has the dream of playing for schools like Penn State, Harvard, Princeton, and the other institutions that make up the EIVA,” Charleston coach Michael Crane said in a statement. “Being able to become a member of the EIVA will help us make that dream a reality for a few more of these young men. We could not have chosen a better conference to align with, both athletically and academically. We look forward to competing with the prestigious institutions that make up the EIVA, as well as those that make up the MIVA, the MPSF, and the Conference Carolinas.”