CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Mountain East Conference announced on Friday that the NCAA Division II Membership Committee had officially approved the league's application for membership.The 12-team league consisting of Concord, Fairmont State, Glenville State, Shepherd, Charleston, West Liberty, West Virginia State, Wheeling Jesuit, West Virginia Wesleyan, Notre Dame (Ohio), Urbana (Ohio) and Virginia-Wise will become the 25th NCAA Division II conference on Sept. 1, 2013 and assume active status."This is a very exciting time for the Mountain East Conference and our 12 charter institutions," Mountain East Conference commissioner Reid Amos said via press release. "Every one of our schools has great history, great tradition and now a great future as an MEC member. It has been an exhilarating experience to be a part of the formation of a group of like-minded institutions that has laid a strong foundation for a long and successful association."The league will crown champions in 16 sports - men's and women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, and volleyball.
The champions of each of these sports, however, won't receive an automatic NCAA tournament bid during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, but all schools will be eligible to receive at-large bids.
"A highly competitive conference supports the high-quality experience that we are committed to creating for every one of our student-athletes," Amos said. "Ultimately, we expect our new affiliation will create increased opportunities for NCAA tournament participation in every one of our 16 NCAA championship sports."The final application process was very involved, containing over 200 pages when it was officially filed in December.Amos said all the tough work paid off in the end."The NCAA Division II membership process was very valuable to us in a number of ways," Amos said. "It almost served as a step-by-step guide to organizing a model NCAA Division II conference and really helped our presidents and athletic directors crystallize a strategic plan and a vision for our collective future."Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.