West Virginia University Institute of Technology will withdraw its membership in the Mid-South Conference (MSC) effective June 30, 2012, but maintain its membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as an independent institution, Director of Athletics Frank Pergolizzi announced Thursday.
The Tech athletic program will also apply for membership in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) for the 2012-2013 academic year, he added. Tech is currently a provisional member of the USCAA.
The move will allow teams increased post-season opportunities, he said, and have a positive impact on recruiting, travel and missed class time.
“This allows our coaches to have complete control over their schedules as well as provides post-season opportunities for our teams,” Pergolizzi said. “I am fully confident that these actions will enable our coaching staff to continue to improve the quality and quantity of the student-athletes that we recruit. It should also help our programs to continue to improve their level of competitive success. This is the right move at this time for Tech and for our athletics program.”
Tech teams are currently ineligible for Mid-South/NAIA post-season competition as a result of the program’s 2010 application for NCAA membership. That status would continue through the 2012-2013 year due to Tech’s 2011 application to the NCAA.
“The lack of post-season and other recognition opportunities through the NAIA and MSC is a significant detriment for our teams and our athletes,” Pergolizzi said. “As a member of the USCAA we would be able to take advantage of the opportunity for post-season competition through that organization. Not only will our coaches have complete control over their schedules but we will also have more opportunities to schedule WVIAC institutions.”
He added, “We are grateful to the Mid-South Conference and its member institutions for the six years that we have spent in the league. The MSC is an outstanding conference comprised of outstanding academic and athletic institutions. We will miss the friendships and the great competition.”
Pergolizzi said the decision to pursue NCAA and WVIAC membership at a later date is a separate issue and still an option.