Wednesday, July 3, 2013

College football's newest conference


A new college conference with Northeast Ohio representation opened for business this week.

The Division II Mountain East Conference has welcomed 12 charter members. The group includes Notre Dame College, which spent the 2012 football season as an associate member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  

The MEC sponsors 16 sports. The conference's headquarters are in Wheeling, W.Va., which makes sense because nine members hail from the Mountain State. NDC, Urbana (Ohio) and University of Virginia's College at Wise are the only MEC schools from outside West Virginia.

Concord, Fairmont State, Glenville State, Shepherd, University of Charleston, West Liberty, West Virginia State, West Virginia Wesleyan  and Wheeling Jesuit are the other nine members. The nine schools were members of the defunct West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The group decided last June to leave the WVIAC, which sponsored sports at the NAIA and then Division II levels for 89 years.

Plans for the MEC were revealed last August. The conference received NCAA approval in February.

Wheeling Jesuit is the only MEC member without a football program. Virginia-Wise is nearing completion of the Division II membership process.

Reid Amos, who has a communications background, is the MEC's first commissioner. The conference will hire three assistant commissioners, according to its website.

NDC plays its first MEC football game Sept. 14 at Urbana.Schools are playing nine conference this season.

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy

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