|Mountain East Conference|
|Region||West Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio|
|Headquarters||Bridgeport, West Virginia|
|Commissioner||Reid Amos (since 2012)|
The Mountain East Conference (MEC) is a collegiate athletic conference that competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level and officially began competition on September 1, 2013. It consists of 12 schools, mostly in West Virginia with other members in Maryland, North Carolina, and Ohio.
The conference is an offshoot of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), another Division II conference that had operated primarily in West Virginia since 1924. In June 2012, the nine football-playing schools in that conference announced plans to break away and form a new all-sports conference. The schools that made the initial announcement were the University of Charleston, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Seton Hill University, Shepherd University, West Liberty University, West Virginia State University, and West Virginia Wesleyan College. All of these schools were in West Virginia, except for Seton Hill, located in Pennsylvania. According to regional media, the split was "supposedly rooted in different philosophies of progressivism", and also was partially driven by a desire to expand the new conference's footprint outside West Virginia. The divisions in the WVIAC were also rooted in the split between public and private schools, although the departing schools included institutions of both types.
At the time of the original announcement, the nine schools planned to expand to at least 12 members. Before the official launch of the conference on August 20, 2012, the MEC sought to add the WVIAC's other Pennsylvania member, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown; however, both Seton Hill and Pittsburgh–Johnstown chose to join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The MEC filled out its charter membership with another West Virginia school, Wheeling Jesuit University, today known as Wheeling University; two Ohio schools, Notre Dame College and Urbana University; and the University of Virginia's College at Wise (UVA Wise), located in Southwest Virginia. Wheeling Jesuit was a WVIAC member that had been left out of the original WVIAC split. Urbana and UVA Wise were members of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) in 2012–13, while Notre Dame was a Division II independent that had housed five of its 22 sports in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. UVA Wise, which had previously been turned down for WVIAC membership, was transitioning from the NAIA and did not officially become an active D-II member until 2015-16; all of the other charter members were already full D-II members.
At its launch, the MEC had 11 football members, with Wheeling (then known as Wheeling Jesuit) being the only non-football school. On February 15, 2013, the NCAA accepted the MEC as its 25th D2 conference. The 2015–16 school year was the first in which MEC teams were eligible for automatic bids to NCAA Division II championships; before then, they were eligible only for at-large bids.
In 2018 UVA Wise and the South Atlantic Conference jointly announced on April 13 that UVA Wise would leave the MEC to join the SAC for 2019–20 and beyond. Next, Shepherd and the PSAC jointly announced on June 7 that Shepherd would join the PSAC in 2019, becoming that league's first full member outside of Pennsylvania. The MEC would replace both members in the ensuing months. On July 5, the Mountain East Conference announced that Frostburg State University had accepted an offer of membership beginning with the 2019–20 academic year, contingent upon Frostburg State achieving active membership status in NCAA Division II (which would occur on the announced schedule). Finally, on August 30, the MEC announced two additional new members effective in 2019–20. Davis & Elkins College would become a full member, and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke would join in five sports. UNC Pembroke began MEC competition in men's and women's indoor track & field, women's swimming & diving, and wrestling in 2019, with football following in 2020.
The most recent MEC membership changes were announced in 2020. On April 16, multi-sport associate member UNC Pembroke announced it would join Conference Carolinas effective in 2021–22. Because CC sponsors all of the non-football sports that UNCP housed in the MEC, UNCP is now an MEC member only in football. Five days later, charter member Urbana announced it would close at the end of the 2019–20 school year. Finally, on June 5, Alderson Broaddus University, a West Virginia school left out of the WVIAC split, announced that it would leave the G-MAC to join the MEC the following month.
The Mountain East currently has 12 full members, one half are private schools, and other half are public schools:
|Alderson Broaddus University||Philippi, West Virginia||1871||Baptist||2,306||Battlers||2020||North|
|University of Charleston||Charleston, West Virginia||1888||Nonsectarian||1,350||Golden Eagles||2013||South|
|Concord University||Athens, West Virginia||1872||Public||1,835||Mountain Lions||2013||South|
|Davis & Elkins College||Elkins, West Virginia||1904||Presbyterian||810||Senators||2019||South|
|Fairmont State University||Fairmont, West Virginia||1865||Public||4,600||Falcons||2013||North|
|Frostburg State University[a]||Frostburg, Maryland||1898||Public||5,215||Bobcats||2019||North|
|Glenville State College||Glenville, West Virginia||1872||Public||2,000||Pioneers||2013||South|
|Notre Dame College||South Euclid, Ohio||1922||Catholic||2,200||Falcons||2013||North|
|West Liberty University||West Liberty, West Virginia||1837||Public||2,500||Hilltoppers||2013||North|
|West Virginia State University||Institute, West Virginia||1891||Public
|West Virginia Wesleyan College||Buckhannon, West Virginia||1890||United Methodist||1,452||Bobcats||2013||South|
|Wheeling University||Wheeling, West Virginia||1954||Nonsectarian||1,600||Cardinals||2013||North|
The Mountain East currently has one associate member, which is also a public school:
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||Pembroke, North Carolina||1887||Public||5,827||Braves||2020–21||football||Carolinas|
The Mountain East had three former full members, all but one were public schools:
|Shepherd University||Shepherdstown, West Virginia||1871||Public||4,400||Rams||2013–14||2018–19||Pennsylvania (PSAC)|
|Urbana University||Urbana, Ohio||1850||Nonsectarian||N/A||Blue Knights||2013–14||2020–20||Closed in 2020.|
|University of Virginia's College at Wise
|Wise, Virginia||1954||Public||2,000||Cavaliers||2013–14||2018–19||South Atlantic (SAC)|
The Mountain East had one former associate member, which was also a public school:
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||Pembroke, North Carolina||1887||Public||5,827||Braves||2019–20||2020–21||men's indoor track & field;
women's indoor track & field;
women's swimming & diving
Full member (all sports) Full member (non-football) Associate member (football-only) Associate member (sport)
The MEC sponsored 16 sports in all, eight each for men and women, at its formation. Women's lacrosse became the 17th conference sport for the 2014–15 school year (2015 season). Men's and women's swimming and diving were added as the 18th and 19th conference sports for 2017–18, with the MEC and Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) forming a swimming and diving alliance that conducts a joint conference championship meet. The following school year saw the MEC add acrobatics & tumbling as an official sport, two years before it was added to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. The MEC was the first NCAA conference to establish acrobatics & tumbling as an official sport. The most recently added sports are men's and women's indoor track & field and wrestling, which debuted in 2019–20.
|A divisional format is used for basketball (M/W), baseball, soccer (W), softball and volleyball (W).|
|Acrobatics & tumbling|
|Swimming & Diving|
|Track & field (indoor)|
|Track & field (outdoor)|
|Davis & Elkins||10|
|West Virginia State||5|
|West Virginia Wesleyan||10|
|Davis & Elkins||11|
|West Virginia State||[a]||6|
|West Virginia Wesleyan||12|
|Lacrosse||Sprint football[a]||Volleyball[b]||Bowling[c]||Field Hockey||Rugby[d]||Triathlon[d]||Wrestling[d]|
|Davis & Elkins||G-MAC||IND|
In addition to the above:
((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
Conference Carolinas joins the Mountain East Conference as the only NCAA conferences to presently sponsor the sport.