WVU AND VIRGINIA TECH ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT TO PLAY IN COMMON SPORTS
The Mountaineers and Hokies plan to take advantage of geographic proximity for non-conference scheduling
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University and Virginia Tech have come to a mutual agreement in which the two schools will play each other in common varsity sports when schedules permit over the next several years, starting in 2014-15. The series will be called the Black Diamond Challenge, a tribute to the region’s history in the coal industry.
West Virginia and Tech will not sign a contract, preferring instead just to make a strong commitment to work with each other to schedule as many of these non-conference games as possible.
“It only makes sense for these two great land grant institutions, with long and rich athletic histories, to be competing against each other in the athletics realm,” West Virginia Director of Athletics Oliver Luck said. “Many of our sports teams have long-standing rivalries with Virginia Tech, the oldest dating back to baseball in 1905. This border rivalry is good for the fans and coaches and it provides great competition for the student-athletes. I applaud the teamwork and cooperation of both schools to get the Black Diamond Challenge finalized. It’s a win-win for both institutions and for college athletics in general.”
Separated by a four-hour drive, the two border schools have a long history of playing each other in various sports. They first met on the field in 1905 when the two schools’ baseball teams faced each other.
“Rivalries are a special part of college athletics,” Virginia Tech Athletics Director Whit Babcock said. “They are enhanced based on frequency of playing each other. We certainly have some great rivalries within our conference, but this has been, and will continue to be, a special one for us outside of the ACC. This unique scheduling arrangement will be exciting for our fans and student-athletes in all of our sports over the next several years.”
In 1997, the two schools began competing for the Black Diamond Trophy, which went to the winner of the football game between the two schools. The Black Diamond Trophy will remain a part of the football series and will be on the line when the two schools meet on the field in 2017.
Here is a look at the series in each of the two schools’ common varsity sports (in alphabetical order):
• Men’s basketball – West Virginia and Tech have agreed to a home-and-home series (one game per season) through the 2017-18 season, but both sides have plans of continuing the series even beyond that season. West Virginia will play in Blacksburg on odd-numbered years, while hosting Tech in Morgantown during even-numbered years. The two teams have met each of the past two seasons, and WVU plays host to Tech on Dec. 30 this year, with the Mountaineers returning the trip in 2015.
The Hokies won 87-82 last year in Blacksburg. Prior to the Hokies-Mountaineers’ game in 2012, though, the two programs had not met since 2003. They have played 77 games overall against each other, dating back to 1920, and the Mountaineers hold a 47-30 advantage.
• Women’s basketball – The Mountaineers and Hokies are in preliminary discussions on future dates. The two schools have played just 16 times in the series dating back to 1977 and haven’t played since a 2006 tournament in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a game the Hokies won 60-56. The Hokies have won seven of the past eight meetings with the Mountaineers and hold an 11-5 advantage in the series.
• Baseball – The two schools have agreed to a home-and-home series for the next two seasons. West Virginia will travel to Blacksburg next spring, with the Hokies returning the trip to Morgantown in the spring of 2016.
The Hokies and Mountaineers played in Princeton, West Virginia, last May, a game won 4-3 by the Mountaineers. The two schools have met 85 times in a series that dates back to 1905 and have played three of the past five years. The Hokies own a 52-32-1 advantage in the series.
• Women’s cross country/track – The two teams will compete against each other in invitational meets over the course of the next few years.
In cross country, Tech, which started women’s cross country and indoor track for the 1982-83 season, last faced West Virginia in competition earlier this season at the Louisville Classic, where No. 23 WVU finished second and No. 28 Tech finished third. Prior to this year’s meeting, the last meeting took place at the 2003 BIG EAST Championships. That year, the Hokies finished in sixth, while West Virginia finished seventh. In 2002, the Hokies finished in seventh place, while West Virginia came in sixth. In 2001, Virginia Tech finished in sixth place, while the Mountaineer women finished in ninth.
In track, the two programs last met at the 2004 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Mountaineers finished in eighth place, with the Hokies coming in one spot behind them. West Virginia finished ahead of Tech in all four years that the Hokies were in the BIG EAST.
• Men’s golf – Tech and West Virginia are striving to play in a common tournament over the course of the next few years. West Virginia dropped men’s golf in 1982, but reinstated it in July of last year and will begin competition in the fall of 2015.
The two programs last competed in a dual meet in 1978 and last competed in an invitational in 1980 at Marshall. Tech leads all-time series in dual-meet competition 16-0.
The Hokies and West Virginia also competed against each other 13 times in conference tournaments while members of the Southern Conference. Tech won the Southern five times during that span (1956, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1965) and finished ahead of the Mountaineers on 10 occasions.
• Football – The scheduled games between the two schools will remain with no new additions.
The two sides mutually agreed to discontinue their football series following the 2005 season (a 34-17 Virginia Tech win in Morgantown), but recently scheduled a non-conference game to be played at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, on Sept. 2, 2017.
Also, in July of 2013, the two sides agreed to a home-and-home series starting in 2021. Tech will play in Morgantown in 2021, with the Mountaineers returning the trip the following year.
The 2005 meeting between the Hokies and Mountaineers marked the 33rd straight season in which they had played. They have played 51 games overall against each other, dating back to 1912, and West Virginia holds a 28-22-1 advantage.
• Men’s soccer – The two schools met on Sept. 4 in Morgantown, with Mountaineers beating the Hokies 3-0. West Virginia will come to Blacksburg next season. The two sides are continuing discussions on future dates beyond next season when schedules permit.
This year’s match marked the 10th meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1987. Prior to September’s meeting, the two schools hadn’t played since 2004. The Hokies hold a 7-3 edge in the series.
• Women’s soccer – Tech and West Virginia are discussing a home-and-home series and are looking to start it in 2017 because of prior scheduling commitments. The two programs – both of which are nationally ranked – have agreed to remain flexible as far as moving or subtracting dates as needed pending any unforeseen scheduling issues.
Tech and West Virginia have played just five times, but met last year and in 2011 at the NCAA Championship. The Hokies won both games 1-0. Prior to the 2011 meeting, the two teams had not played since 2002. West Virginia holds a 3-2 advantage in the series.
• Men’s and women’s swimming and diving – Tech and West Virginia coaching staffs are having ongoing discussions about participating in to-be-determined meets in the future.
The two men’s teams have met 25 times in competition dating back to 1979, with the Mountaineers holding a 13-12 advantage. The two women’s programs have met 27 times dating back to 1977, with Tech holding a 16-11 advantage.
• Women’s tennis – The two programs are working on dates and locations for future non-conference matches, and both hope to begin a series in the spring of 2016.
The two programs met on the court in 2013, with the Hokies winning 5-2. Tech and West Virginia have met 23 times in the series dating back to the 1983-84 season, and the Hokies hold a 19-4 advantage.
• Volleyball – West Virginia and Tech are continuing preliminary discussions in regards to playing a home-and-home series as part of a four-team tournament with other high-quality RPI programs. This tournament would be played in Blacksburg one year and in Morgantown one year. The dates and teams have not been finalized.
Tech and West Virginia have played seven times dating back to 1979, but the last meeting came in 2003 when the Hokies beat the Mountaineers 3-0. Tech has won four straight in the series and holds a 5-2 advantage.
• Wrestling – Tech and West Virginia have agreed to a four-year series (one match per year), beginning next season. There potentially could be more dates in the future.
The Hokies and Mountaineers have met in dual action on 18 occasions, with West Virginia holding a 12-6 advantage. The two schools haven’t met since 2004.