Collegiate Athletic Conferences
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) is an athletic conference that competes in the NCAA's Division III. The nine teams in the conference are all located in the states of Michigan and Indiana. The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association was established on March 24, 1888, making it the oldest college athletic conference in the United States. The conference has made some drastic changes involving the types of sports that the conference competes in. The number of sports with competition is 18 (9 Men and 9 Women sports). These sports include cross country, football, golf, basketball, tennis, swimming, baseball, volleyball, softball track and field and soccer. Some past sports that are no longer in competition include bicycle racing, Indian club juggling, wrestling, archery, and field hockey.
The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) was one of the first collegiate athletic conferences in the United States. Twenty-seven of the current Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) football programs were members of this conference at some point, as were at least 19 other schools. Every member of the current Southeastern Conference except Arkansas, plus future SEC member Texas A&M, and six of the 12 current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference formerly held membership in the SIAA. The University of Texas, now of the Big 12 Conference (and previously of the now defunct Southwest Conference), was also an early member. The SIAA was founded on December 21, 1894, by Dr. William Dudley, a chemistry professor at Vanderbilt. The original members were Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Sewanee, and Vanderbilt. Clemson, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Tulane, and Texas, joined the following year in 1896. The conference was originally formed to standardize player eligibility rules and host an annual track meet and basketball tournament.
In 1915, some of the large universities formed the Southern Intercollegiate Conference, which used the one-year rule (the eligibility of freshman athletes), while still maintaining membership within the SIAA.
On February 25, 1921, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Tennessee left the SIAA to form the Southern Conference, along with non-SIAA members Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Washington & Lee. In 1922, the Southern Conference underwent an expansion and added six more members, all at the expense of the SIAA: Florida, Louisiana State, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane, and Vanderbilt.
The Big Ten Conference is the United States' oldest Division I college athletic conference. Its twelve member institutions are located primarily in the Midwestern United States. On January 11, 1895, the presidents of University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, Purdue University and Lake Forest College met in Chicago to discuss the regulation and control of intercollegiate athletics. The eligibility of student-athletes was one of the main topics of discussion. The Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives was founded at a second meeting on February 8, 1896. Lake Forest was not at the 1896 meeting that established the conference and was replaced by the University of Michigan. At the time, the organization was more commonly known as the Western Conference, consisting of Purdue, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Chicago, and Northwestern.
The first reference to the conference as the Big Nine was in 1899 after Iowa and Indiana had joined. Nebraska first petitioned to join the league in 1900 and again in 1911, but was turned away both times. In January 1908, Michigan and the conference parted ways after disagreements on league rules. Ohio State was added to the conference in 1912. The first reference to the conference as the Big Ten was in November 1917 after Michigan rejoined following a nine-year absence.
The conference was again known as the Big Nine after the University of Chicago decided to de-emphasize varsity athletics just after World War II. Chicago discontinued its football program in 1939 and withdrew from the conference in 1946 after struggling to gain victories in many conference matchups. It was believed that one of several schools, notably Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Michigan State, Marquette, Notre Dame, and Iowa State would replace Chicago at the time. On May 20, 1949, Michigan State ended the speculation by joining and the conference was again known as the Big Ten. The Big Ten's membership would remain unchanged for the next 40 years.
The Big Eight Conference, a former NCAA-affiliated Division I-A college athletic association that sponsored football, was formed in January 1907 as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA) by its charter member schools: the University of Kansas, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, the University of Iowa was a joint member of the newly formed MVIAA and the older Western Conference (now the Big Ten Conference).
In 1908 Drake University and Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) joined, increased conference membership to seven. Iowa departed in 1911 but Kansas State University joined the conference in 1913. Nebraska left in 1919 to play two seasons as an independent. That year, the conference added Grinnell College, with the University of Oklahoma following suit in 1920; its intrastate rival Oklahoma A&M joined in 1925.
The year 1928 proved to be a pivotal one as the conference split up. The larger state schools of Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma remained together as the MVIAA, which became known informally to fans and the media as the Big Six Conference, while the smaller schools plus Oklahoma A&M formed a new conference, the The Missouri Valley Conference (also called MVC or simply "The Valley" a college athletic conference whose members are located in the midwestern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I). The similarity of the two conferences' official names, as well as the competing claims of the two conferences, has led to considerable debate over which conference was the original and which was the spin-off. For the remainder of the Big Eight's run, both conferences claimed 1907 as their founding date, as well as the same history through 1927. To this day, it has never been definitively established which conference was the original.
The conference membership remained unchanged until the addition of the University of Colorado in 1948 from the Mountain States Conference (a forerunner of the Western Athletic Conference). The conference's unofficial name became the Big Seven Conference, coincidentally, the former unofficial name of the MSC. Oklahoma A&M, which by this time had changed its name to Oklahoma State, rejoined the conference in 1958, and the conference became known as the Big Eight. The conference remained unchanged until 1996, when four former members of the now-defunct Southwest Conference (Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech) joined the eight member schools to form the Big 12 Conference.
The Southwest Conference (SWC) was a college athletic conference in the United States from 1914 to 1996. The charter members of the conference were Baylor University, Oklahoma A&M University (now Oklahoma State University), Rice University, Southwestern University (in Georgetown, Texas), Texas A&M University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Texas. The Southwest Conference became an official body on December 8, 1914, at a formal meeting at the Rice Hotel in Houston.
Its early years saw fluctuation in membership; Southwestern (a comparatively smaller school) dropped out of the conference in 1916, and Southern Methodist University joined in 1918; Texas Christian University became a member in 1923. Rice University left the conference in 1916, only to re-join in 1918. Phillips University (Enid, Oklahoma) was a conference member for one year (1920). Oklahoma left in 1919 to join the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (later known as the Big Eight Conference), and was followed by Oklahoma A&M in 1925. However, the intense series between Texas and Oklahoma would continue in the annual Red River Rivalry game held in Dallas. From 1925 until 1991, the University of Arkansas would be the only conference member not located within the state of Texas.
The roots of the Pac-12 Conference go back to December 2, 1915, when the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) was founded at a meeting at the Imperial Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Charter members were the University of California (now University of California, Berkeley), the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). The conference began play in 1916.
One year later, Washington State College (now Washington State University) joined the league, followed by Stanford University in 1918. In 1922, the PCC expanded to eight teams with the admission of USC and Idaho. Montana joined the Conference in 1924, and in 1928, the PCC grew to 10 members with the addition of UCLA. For many years, the conference split into two divisions for basketball-a Southern Division comprising the four California schools and a Northern Division comprising the six schools in the Pacific Northwest. In 1950, Montana departed to join the Mountain States Conference. The PCC continued as a nine-team league through 1958.
The Southern Conference ranks as the fourth oldest major college athletic conference in the United States. Only the Big Ten (1896), Missouri Valley (1907) and Southwestern Athletic (1920) conferences are older. The conference was formed on February 25, 1921 in Atlanta as fourteen member institutions split from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Southern Conference charter members were Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Washington & Lee. In 1922, six more universities - Florida, LSU, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane, and Vanderbilt joined the conference. Later additions included Sewanee (1923), Virginia Military Institute (1924), and Duke (1929).
The The Southern Conference is particularly notable for having spawned two other major conferences. In 1933, thirteen schools located south and west of the Appalachians (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane, and Vanderbilt) departed the Southern Conference to form the Southeastern Conference (SEC). In 1953, seven schools (Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest) withdrew from the The Southern Conference to form the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) was established on December 8 and 9, 1932, when the thirteen members of the Southern Conference located west and south of the Appalachian Mountains left to form their own conference. Ten of the thirteen founding members have remained in the conference since its inception: the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, the University of Mississippi ("Ole Miss"), Mississippi State University, the University of Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University.
The University of the South ("Sewanee") left the SEC in 1940, and later de-emphasized varsity athletics. Georgia Institute of Technology ("Georgia Tech") left the SEC in 1964. In 1975, it became a founding member of the Metro Conference, one of the predecessors to today's Conference USA. Georgia Tech competed in the Metro Conference in all sports except football, in which it was independent. In 1978, Georgia Tech joined another Southern Conference offshoot, the Atlantic Coast Conference, for all sports, where it has remained. Tulane University left the SEC in 1966. Along with Georgia Tech, it was a charter member of the Metro Conference. Unlike Tech, however, Tulane remained in the Metro Conference until it merged with the Great Midwest Conference and became the new Conference USA in 1995. Tulane remained an independent in football until C-USA began football competition in 1996.
In 1991, the SEC expanded from ten to twelve member universities with the addition of: University of Arkansas and University of South Carolina. The two new teams joined for the 1991-.1992 basketball season. At the same time, the SEC split into two divisions-a Western Division comprising most of the schools in the Central Time Zone, and an Eastern Division comprising the schools in the Eastern Time Zone plus Vanderbilt (which is located in the Central Time Zone, but is in the Eastern Division to preserve its rivalry with Tennessee). This divisional format remains in place today.
The Big East was founded in 1979 when Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, and Syracuse invited Seton Hall,Connecticut, Holy Cross, and Boston College to form a conference primarily focused on basketball, with Rutgers and Holy Cross declining to join. Villanova joined a year later in 1980 and Pittsburgh joined in 1982. In 1985, Penn State applied for membership, but was rejected, with only five schools in favor (Penn State needed six out of eight).
About a decade after the conference's inception, Big East members decided to become a major football conference and thus added five schools including Miami, Temple, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Rutgers. Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference. The inaugural Big East football season launched in 1991. West Virginia and Rutgers were football-only members until 1995, Virginia Tech was a football-only member until 2001, with Temple remaining a football-only member until 2004, after failing to attract enough consistent fan support. The Big East offered Notre Dame a non-football membership effective 1995. This led to an unusual conference structure with some schools competing in Division I basketball only.
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) was founded in 1953 in Greensboro, North Carolina, seven universities were charter members of the ACC: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest. Previously members of the Southern Conference, they left partially due to that league's ban on post-season play. On December 4, 1953, officials convened in Greensboro, North Carolina, and admitted Virginia into the conference.
In 1971, South Carolina left the ACC to become an independent. The ACC operated with seven members until the addition of Georgia Tech from the Metro Conference on April 3, 1978. The total number of member schools reached nine with the addition of Florida State, also formerly from the Metro Conference, on July 1, 1991. The ACC added three members from the Big East Conference during the 2005 cycle of conference realignment: Miami and Virginia Tech joined on July 1, 2004, and Boston College joined on July 1, 2005, as the league's twelfth member and the first and only one from New England. The expansion was not without controversy, since Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia (and, initially, Virginia Tech) filed lawsuits against the ACC, Miami, and Boston College for conspiring to weaken the Big East Conference.
The Mountain West Conference is the youngest of the college athletic conferences affiliated with the NCAA's Division I FBS. The Mountain West Conference officially began operations in July 1999. Geographically, the Mountain West Conference covers a broad expanse of the western United States, with member institutions located in California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming. Charter members included Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah, and Wyoming. Before forming the Mountain West Conference, seven of the eight charter members had been longtime members of the Western Athletic Conference; half were WAC charter members at its formation in 1962 - UNLV had only joined the WAC in 1996.
The WAC expanded from 10 to 16 universities in 1996, absorbing three teams from the defunct Southwest Conference (Rice, SMU, and TCU), adding two from the Big West (San Jose State and UNLV), and Tulsa from the Missouri Valley. After three football seasons, most of the pre-expansion members decided that the new WAC was oversized, and departed to form the Mountain West Conference. The MWC added a ninth team in 2005: TCU, also a former WAC member, which joined after four seasons in Conference USA.
On June 11, 2010, Boise State University agreed to join the conference as its tenth member. On June 17, 2010, Utah announced it would be leaving the Mountain West to join what would become the Pacific-12 Conference. On August 18, 2010, amidst rumors that Brigham Young was considering leaving the Mountain West to go independent in football and rejoin the Western Athletic Conference in all other sports, the Mountain West Conference officially extended invitations to California State University, Fresno and the University of Nevada, Reno. Fresno State and Nevada accepted and would become the tenth and eleventh members of the league. BYU announced on August 31, 2010 that it would leave the Mountain West Conference and go Independent in football and become a member of the West Coast Conference in other sports starting in 2011. On November 29, 2010, Texas Christian University announced all athletic teams would move to the Big East Conference effective in 2012. On December 10, 2010, the University of Hawaii at Manoa accepted a bid to become the 10th member of the conference for football only.
The Western Athletic Conference formed out of a series of talks between Brigham Young University and other universities from 1958 to 1961 to form a new athletic conference that would better fit the needs and situations of certain universities which were at the time members of the Border, Skyline, and Pacific Coast Conferences. Potential member universities who were represented at the meetings included BYU, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Arizona State, and Wyoming. While the three Washington and Oregon schools elected to stay in a revamped Pac-8 Conference that replaced the scandal-plagued PCC, the remaining six schools formed the WAC, forcing the disbandment of the Border and Skyline conferences. The charter members of the WAC were Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. New Mexico State and Utah State applied for charter membership and were turned down; they would eventually become WAC members 43 years later.
Texas-El Paso (UTEP), recently renamed from Texas Western College, and Colorado State joined in 1967 to bring membership up to eight. In the summer of 1978, the Arizona schools left the WAC for the Pac-8, which became the Pac-10, and were replaced in the WAC by San Diego State and, one year later, Hawaii. The WAC further expanded by adding Air Force in the summer of 1980. A college football national championship won by Brigham Young in 1984 added to the WAC's reputation as the best of the so-called mid-major conferences. This nine-team line-up of the WAC defined the conference for nearly 15 years.
Fresno State expanded its athletic program in the early 1990s and was granted membership in 1992 as the nationwide trend against major college programs independent of conferences accelerated. The WAC merged with the High Country Athletic Conference, a parallel organization to the WAC for women's athletics, in 1990 to unify both men's and women's athletics under one administrative structure.
In 1996, the WAC expanded again, adding six schools to its ranks for a total of sixteen. Rice, TCU, and SMU joined the league from the Southwest Conference, which had disbanded. Big West Conference members San Jose State and UNLV were also admitted, as well as Tulsa from the Missouri Valley Conference. With the expansion, the WAC was divided into two divisions. Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Utah, and Wyoming felt that WAC expansion had compromised the athletic and academic excellence of the membership. In 1999, those five schools, along with old line WAC schools New Mexico and San Diego State, as well as newcomer UNLV, split off and formed the new Mountain West Conference.
When the Big West announced that it would drop football after the 2000 season, four of its members (Boise State, Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State) wanted to continue their football programs. Boise State was invited to join the WAC and promptly departed the Big West, while New Mexico State and Idaho joined the Sun Belt Conference (NMSU as a full member, Idaho as a "football only" member) and Utah State operated as an independent. At the same time, Louisiana Tech accepted an invitation to join the WAC with Boise State.
In 2005, Conference USA sought new members to replenish its ranks after losing members to the Big East, which had lost members to the ACC. Four WAC schools, former SWC schools Rice and SMU, as well as Tulsa, and UTEP, joined Conference USA. In response, the WAC added Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State -. all former Big West schools which left the conference in 2000 along with Boise State when that conference dropped football. The three new schools were all land grant universities, bringing the conference total to five (Nevada and Hawaii).
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