Conference Carolinas

Conference Carolinas, formerly known as the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference (CVAC) or the Carolinas Conference, is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) primarily in Division II, and as one of the five Division I conferences for men's volleyball. Originally formed in 1930, the league reached its modern incarnation in 1994. Member institutions are located in the southeastern United States in the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Conference Carolinas currently has 11 small college or university private institutions that make-up their membership.

Conference Carolinas
DivisionDivision II
Members12 (11 in 2020)
Sports fielded
  • 22
    • men's: 11 (1 emerging)
    • women's: 11
RegionNorth Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia
Former namesNorth State Conference (1930–1961)
Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (1961–1995)
Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (1995–2007)
HeadquartersGreenville, South Carolina
CommissionerChris Colvin


Conference Carolinas
Location of Conference Carolinas members: full and departing

Conference Carolinas dates to its inception on December 6, 1930. The conference was formed then as an athletic association "for the greater advantage of the small colleges in North Carolina". The official name given back then was the North State Intercollegiate Conference but known informally as the Old North State Conference. The birthplace was the Washington Duke Hotel in Durham, North Carolina, and the seven charter members were Appalachian, Atlantic Christian (now Barton College), Catawba, Guilford, Elon, High Point, and Lenoir–Rhyne.

The conference followed a policy of expansion for a period of time. Western Carolina became a member in 1933, East Carolina in 1947, Pfeiffer in 1960, Newberry in 1961, and Presbyterian in 1964, followed closely by Mars Hill.

With the acceptance of the first member from South Carolina in Newberry College, a name change became necessary. Thus on May 20, 1961 the official name of the conference was changed to the Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAC) but commonly known less formerly as the Carolinas Conference.

East Carolina resigned in 1962 to join the Southern Conference and Appalachian and Western Carolina followed. Football sponsorship in the Carolinas Conference was dropped in 1973 when Lenoir–Rhyne, Newberry, Presbyterian, and Mars Hill joined the South Atlantic Conference.

Pembroke State University became a first-time member in 1976 followed by Wingate College in 1979, and Lenoir–Rhyne rejoined in 1984.

While Guilford College withdrew in 1988, St. Andrews and Mount Olive were added that same year.

The 1989–90 academic year started a new era as Catawba, Elon, Lenoir–Rhyne and Wingate all withdrew to compete in the first year that the South Atlantic Conference would provide championships in all sports, not just football.

The Carolinas Conference then added Belmont Abbey in 1989, Coker College (now Coker University) in 1991, and Lees-McRae in 1993.

The 1993–94 academic year brought a change to the conference national affiliation. The conference began the process of transferring membership to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) after years as a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) member. During the transition, it was a dual member of the NCAA's Division II and the NAIA's Division I.

The 1995–96 year brought dramatic change to the conference. First, full membership into NCAA Division II was acquired and NAIA affiliation dropped. Thus, this was the first official year of full competition and championship play for the conference in NCAA DII status. Secondly, this was also the same year that Erskine, Longwood, & Queens were accepted as full members of the conference. With Longwood becoming the first Virginia member, another name change occurred and the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (known more universally as the 'CVAC') was born.

Following the 1997 academic year High Point resigned to join the NCAA DI ranks while in 1998 Limestone soon joined and were quickly followed by Anderson in 1999.

In 2003, Longwood University left the conference to explore possibilities in NCAA Division I. Then in 2005 the CVAC added Converse College as an affiliate member before becoming a full member starting in the 2007–08 season.

With the lone Virginia school in Longwood leaving, the league decided to go back to their roots and change their name to Conference Carolinas June 1, 2007.

On June 1, 2011, King College and North Greenville University became official members of the conference and opened the conference to its first Tennessee member in King.

In 2013-14, Emmanuel College (Georgia) and Southern Wesleyan University became official members of the conference and opened the conference to its first Georgia member in Emmanuel. Southern Wesleyan began official full NCAA DII membership in 2016–17 while Emmanuel started in 2018–19.

After 57 years as a league member Pfeiffer University moved down to the NCAA DIII ranks on June 1, 2017.

Conference Carolinas and the South Atlantic Conference entered into a partnership in the 2018–19 school year by which the two leagues would operate as a single conference in field hockey and wrestling, with championships immediately conducted in both sports. The leagues agreed that CC would coordinate the wrestling championship, while the SAC would fill the same role for field hockey. Accordingly, all CC field hockey programs became affiliates of the SAC, while SAC wrestling programs became CC affiliates.[1]

After the completion of the 2018-19 athletic year, former Commissioner Alan Patterson retired and was replaced by Chris Colvin. One of the first moves made by Colvin was to move the league headquarters to Greenville, South Carolina to be more centrally located to all member institutions.

The league now has 12 member institutions with Chowan University officially joining the league full-time in 2019–20 (the school started as an affiliate member in 2016–17). It will return to 11 members the following year when Limestone leaves for the SAC.[2]

Many institutions have been members of the league during its rich history including Anderson, Appalachian, Barton (formerly Atlantic Christian), Belmont Abbey, Catawba, Coker, Converse, East Carolina, Erskine, Emmanuel, Guilford, Elon, High Point, King, Lees-McRae, Lenoir–Rhyne, Limestone, Longwood, Mars Hill, Mount Olive, Newberry, North Greenville, Pembroke State, Pfeiffer, Presbyterian, Queens, St. Andrews, Western Carolina and Wingate.

Barton is the only remaining charter member followed in longevity by Mount Olive's joining in 1988.[3]

Member schools

Current members

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined
Barton College Wilson, North Carolina 1902 1,200 Bulldogs           1930
Belmont Abbey College Belmont, North Carolina 1876 1,320 Crusaders           1989
Chowan University Murfreesboro, North Carolina 1848 1,316 Hawks           2019
Converse College Spartanburg, South Carolina 1889 750 Valkyries           2007
Emmanuel College Franklin Springs, Georgia 1919 760 Lions           2018
Erskine College Due West, South Carolina 1839 920 Flying Fleet           1995
King University Bristol, Tennessee 1867 1,800 Tornados           2011
Lees–McRae College Banner Elk, North Carolina 1899 800 Bobcats           1993
Limestone College Gaffney, South Carolina 1845 3,300 Saints           1998
University of Mount Olive Mount Olive, North Carolina 1951 2,500 Trojans           1988
North Greenville University Tigerville, South Carolina 1891 2,100 Crusaders           2011
Southern Wesleyan University Central, South Carolina 1908 1,616 Warriors                2016
  • From 2016 to 2019, Chowan was an affiliate member in the following sports:
    • 2016–19: Men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's tennis
    • 2017–19: Men's and women's soccer, women's swimming & diving
    • 2018–19: Baseball, men's swimming & diving
  • Converse – women's institution that does not field men's sports; cross country, soccer, tennis, and volleyball were affiliate member sports from 2005–07.
  • Emmanuel – played as a scheduling partner from 2013-2018 while going through NCAA membership process.
  • Southern Wesleyan – played as a scheduling partner from 2014-2016 while going through NCAA membership process.

Affiliate members

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined Sport Primary
Coker University Hartsville, South Carolina 1908 1,000 Cobras           2018 wrestling South Atlantic
Newberry College Newberry, South Carolina 1856 1,070 Wolves           2018 wrestling South Atlantic
Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 1857 2,100 Royals           2018 wrestling South Atlantic

Former members

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Current
Anderson University Anderson, South Carolina 1911 Trojans 1998 2010 South Atlantic
Appalachian State University Boone, North Carolina 1899 Mountaineers 1930 1968 Sun Belt
Catawba College Salisbury, North Carolina 1851 Indians 1930 1989 South Atlantic
Coker University Hartsville, South Carolina 1908 Cobras 1991 2013 South Atlantic
East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina 1907 Pirates 1947 1962 The American
Elon University Elon, North Carolina 1889 Phoenix 1930 1989 Colonial Athletic
Guilford College Greensboro, North Carolina 1837 Quakers 1930 1988 Old Dominion
High Point University High Point, North Carolina 1924 Panthers 1930 1997 Big South
Lenoir–Rhyne University Hickory, North Carolina 1891 Bears 1930;
South Atlantic
Longwood University Farmville, Virginia 1839 Lancers 1995 2003 Big South
Mars Hill University Mars Hill, North Carolina 1856 Lions 1972;
South Atlantic
Newberry College Newberry, South Carolina 1856 Wolves 1961 1972 South Atlantic
University of North Carolina at Pembroke Pembroke, North Carolina 1887 Braves 1976 1992 Peach Belt
Pfeiffer University Misenheimer, North Carolina 1885 Falcons 1960 2017 USA South
Presbyterian College Clinton, South Carolina 1880 Blue Hose 1965 1973 Big South
Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 1857 Royals 1995 2013 South Atlantic
St. Andrews University Laurinburg, North Carolina 1958 Knights 1988 2012 Appalachian
Western Carolina University Cullowhee, North Carolina 1889 Catamounts 1933 1969 Southern
Wingate University Wingate, North Carolina 1896 Bulldogs 1979 1989 South Atlantic

Membership timeline

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football)   Associate member (football-only)   Associate member (sport) 


When Barton became the sixth member to sponsor men's volleyball in 2011–12, Conference Carolinas became the fourth official scholarship-granting conference in NCAA men's volleyball. It also became the first all-sports conference (i.e., one that sponsors men's and women's basketball) ever to sponsor men's volleyball as a scholarship sport,[4] and is also the first men's volleyball conference to consist solely of Division II members. No D-I all-sports conference sponsored the sport until the Big West Conference launched a men's volleyball league in the 2018 season (2017–18 school year).

Conference Carolinas sponsors intercollegiate athletic competition in the following sports:

Conference sports
Cross CountryYY
Swimming & DivingYY
Track & Field IndoorYY
Track & Field OutdoorYY

In field hockey and wrestling, Conference Carolinas and the South Atlantic Conference operate as a single league, holding joint conference tournaments in each sport. As noted previously, CC operates only the wrestling championship.

Men's sponsored sports by school

School Baseball Basketball Cross
Golf Lacrosse Soccer Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Track
& Field
& Field
Volleyball [lower-alpha 1] Wrestling Total
Barton Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Belmont Abbey Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Chowan Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Emmanuel Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 12
Erskine Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 7
King Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Lees–McRae Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Limestone Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 12
Mount Olive Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
North Greenville Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Southern Wesleyan Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Totals 10 11 11 10 8 11 6 11 9 9 9 5 110
Affiliate members
Coker Y 1
Newberry Y 1
Queens Y 1
  1. De facto Division I sport. The NCAA operates a combined Division I/II championship in men's volleyball, and scholarship limits in that sport are the same for members of both divisions.

Women's sponsored sports by school

School Basketball Cross
Golf Lacrosse Soccer Softball Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Track
& Field
& Field
Volleyball Total
Barton Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Belmont Abbey Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Chowan Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Converse Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Emmanuel Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Erskine Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
King Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Lees–McRae Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Limestone Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Mount Olive Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
North Greenville Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Southern Wesleyan Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Totals 12 12 11 11 12 12 7 12 10 10 12 121

    Other sponsored sports by school

    Departing member Limestone in red.

    School Men Women
    Football Bowling [lower-alpha 1] Field
    Belmont Abbey IND SAC
    Chowan CIAA CIAA
    Converse SAC
    Limestone SAC SAC
    North Greenville GSC
    1. De facto Division I sport. The NCAA operates a single bowling championship open to members of all three divisions, and schools in Divisions I and II operate under the same scholarship limits in that sport.

    See also


    1. "Conference Carolinas and The South Atlantic Conference Partner to Sponsor Field Hockey and Wrestling" (Press release). South Atlantic Conference. January 25, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
    2. "Limestone College to Join South Atlantic Conference in 2020-21" (Press release). South Atlantic Conference. April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
    4. Lopes, Vinnie (April 4, 2014). "The Little Conference That Could". Volleyball Magazine. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
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