HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College men's volleyball will compete in the new Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC), a nation-wide men's volleyball-only conference of ten NCAA Division III institutions focused on academic and athletic excellence.
The announcement of the new league's formation was made Thursday by commissioner Gary Williams, associate athletic director at Carthage College.
"The conference's focus is to create a league that will provide nationally recognized and competitive competition opportunities for our member institutions, while remaining fiscally sound and reducing missed class time, enhancing the overall student-athlete experience," said Williams. "We are committed to providing a high quality volleyball experience from coast to coast, while maintaining the integrity of our student's personal and academic lives and fulfilling the mission of an integrated student-athlete experience that is a staple of the Division III philosophy."
The CVC will consist of two divisions, with Juniata joined in the East Division by Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.), Philadelphia Biblical University (Philadelphia, Pa.), Thiel College (Greenville, Pa.), and Stevenson University (Stevenson, Md.).
The CVC's West Division will consist of Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.), Fontbonne University (St. Louis, Mo.), Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.), the College of Mount Saint Joseph (Cincinnati, Ohio), and the University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, Calif.).
In 2011, five of the 10 teams in the future CVC, including Juniata, have been ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 15 Coaches Poll.
"Juniata is looking forward to competing for the first NCAA Division III championship next season," said Juniata head men's volleyball coach Kevin Moore. "The opportunity to compete with other traditional powers in the CVC will prepare our team to play at a championship level."
The new league will begin play in the 2012 season, with each team playing divisional opponents twice each season. The top teams from each division advance to the conference tournament, with the champion receiving an automatic qualifier into the newly created NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship.
The first nine-team NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship has been awarded to Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., and will be held April 27-29, 2012. The 2013 NCAA championship has been awarded to Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.
Williams believes that the strength of the conference is its diversity of institutions and the ability to inspire future growth in men's volleyball throughout the nation.
"The CVC also affords schools geographically separate from the majority of Division III men's volleyball schools to create a league that will encourage future expansion and growth of programs in the Midwest and West regions of the country, while at the same time, providing a stable conference structure for schools that were not included in conference realignments before and just following the NCAA vote," said Williams. "Through our research of geographically diverse conferences such as the UAA and other single-sport models in men's and women's lacrosse we created a structure that will meet our goals and provide a competitive yet sound playing schedule."
Division III formally adopted the NCAA men's volleyball championship as the Association's 89th championship at the 2011 Convention held this past January. The NCAA has sponsored a National Collegiate Volleyball Championship since 1970, which was open to any varsity collegiate program in all three divisions. With the recent exponential growth of the sport on the Division III level, the NCAA has added the Division III championship and this was the catalyst to the formation of the CVC.
Juniata men's volleyball is currently completing its final season in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA), where it won the Hay Division title with a 7-0 record. The Eagles (18-11) battle Springfield College on Saturday afternoon, April 23, at 4:00 p.m. in the EIVA Tournament quarterfinals. The winner will advance to the tournament semifinals, which will be held Thursday, April 28, at Penn State's Rec Hall.