WISE, Va. – The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is headed to the South Atlantic Conference in a move that could reinvigorate the athletic department at the school.
UVa-Wise chancellor Donna P. Henry officially announced the news during a Friday morning press conference and it becomes effective July 1, 2019, as UVa-Wise will begin competing in the SAC during the 2019-20 season in all 13 of the sports it sponsors.
The Highland Cavaliers currently reside in the Mountain East Conference, a 12-team league based in West Virginia. Nine of the schools in the MEC are located in West Virginia, along with two in Ohio. Notre Dame College is located in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, which is quite a jaunt from the coalfields of Southwest Virginia.
The shift makes common sense – and saves some cents – when you look at UVa-Wise’s location and the geographic footprint of the South Atlantic Conference.
“We predict our travel time and subsequent cost will be reduced roughly 30 percent in transferring from the Mountain East to the South Atlantic,” said UVa-Wise athletic director Kendall Rainey. “There are four schools within the South Atlantic that are closer or the same distance as our closest opponent in the Mountain East, which is Concord. The average travel time in the Mountain East was about 4 ½ hours, where in the SAC the overall average travel time is 3 ½ hours.”
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