BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - The University of Charleston (W. Va.) Men's Volleyball program will join the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) beginning in the 2015-2016 season, as announced Thursday afternoon by Commissioner Ivan Marquez.
All seven of the current member institutions in the EIVA unanimously approved accepting the University of Charleston as a full member in Men's Volleyball effective May 20, 2015. The official ratification of the League's Constitution in May will mark the formal acceptance into the conference.
"On behalf of our EIVA, our institutions, and our great sport we welcome the University of Charleston in West Virginia to our family," expressed Marquez. "It is evidently clear that President Welch and Athletics Director 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."
"Men's volleyball is an important addition to UC's strong Division II athletic program," stated Charleston's President Dr. Edwin H. Welch. "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 member institutions that make up the EIVA are comprised of schools that are committed to supporting men's volleyball at the highest level," explained Charleston's Athletics Director Dr. Bren Stevens. "One of our athletic department goals is to pursue excellence both in the classroom and on the court and our affiliation with the EIVA will allow our student-athletes and coaches to compete against the finest men's volleyball teams in the country. This is an extremely exciting opportunity for our institution."
With the move to the EIVA, the University of Charleston is now the southern-most institution in the league. Located in the state's capital, the University of Charleston was founded in 1888, has an enrollment of 1,895 students, and is a full-time member of the Mountain East Conference in NCAA Division II for its 19 other sports.
"I am happy to see the addition of the University of Charleston to the EIVA for the 2016 season," stated EIVA President Ron Shayka. "It is so important to see universities expanding opportunities for men to play collegiate volleyball. UC's commitment to compete at the highest level is a welcome addition to the NCAA Men's Volleyball field."
"I can't tell you how excited we are to be joining the EIVA," exclaimed Charleston's head coach Michael Crane. "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. 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."
The University of Charleston will join the seven other existing members in the EIVA for 2015-2016: George Mason University, Harvard University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Sacred Heart University, and Saint Francis University (Pa.).
The EIVA, one of the longest tenured NCAA playing conferences, was founded in 1971 as the Eastern Collegiate Volleyball League. In 1985 it officially changed its name to the current Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA). The EIVA is one of the four conferences eligible for an automatic berth into the NCAA National Collegiate Men's Volleyball Championship. An EIVA member institution won the NCAA Championship in 1994 and 2008.