MIVA hires new commissioner with NCAA championship background

A former commissioner from a conference that won seven of the last nine NCAA lacrosse championship will now be in charge of the MIVA.

The MIVA announced Monday that it named long-time college athletics administrator Craig Barnett as its new commissioner.

“The MIVA has long been one of the best men’s volleyball leagues in the nation, and I’m excited about building upon the MIVA’s legacy of success on and off the court,” Barnett said in a statement released Monday. “All nine MIVA programs share the common goal of providing a first-class student-athlete experience. That commitment is essential to the growth of the league and men’s volleyball.”


Barnett since 2011 had served as the commissioner of the American Lacrosse Conference — a single-sport conference that included schools from the Big Ten, SEC and national women’s lacrosse powerhouse John Hopkins. In his first two years as commissioner, the ALC won back-to-back NCAA championships.

The ALC, though, recently dissolved because of the Big Ten sponsoring women’s lacrosse and absorbing multiple ALC teams.

Barnett takes over a conference that has won two national titles in the last four years. Ohio State in 2011 became the first MIVA team in the conference’s history to legally win a NCAA championship, while Loyola won its first national championship last season.

Along with his commissioner experience, Barnett served as the athletic director at Becker College and Mercyhust, a former MIVA member that disbanded its program in 2008. He also has experience as a hockey coach at the junior and college levels.

Barnett is entering his third season as the director of player personnel for the North American Hockey League, one of the top junior hockey leagues in the nation. In addition, he was the head coach at Findlay from 1995-2002 and guided the program from a club team to the NCAA Division I level.

Similar to college men’s volleyball, men’s hockey is a NCAA sport that features a national collegiate championship with Division I and Division II schools competing for the same title.

The MIVA is comprised of five Division I schools and four Division II schools. The conference also has been the second fast growing NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball conference in the nation adding three teams in the last five years.