It is very distressing to me that a decision has been made to rename the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference the "Mountain East Conference."
How can the name of one of the oldest athletic conferences in the nation, established in 1924, be so casually dropped without consideration of the proud traditions it has represented over 88 years?
It brings to mind all the great coaches, athletic directors and athletes who have and continue to represent their institutions and the state with great distinction.
To reorganize may be desirable, but to toss away the prestigious and legendary name seems unnecessary. And for what purpose?
Two schools decided to return to their Pennsylvania roots, and three other out-of-state schools plan to join us in West Virginia. Fine, but what about the 11 colleges and universities within our borders? They represent every section of our state.
Is this plan an exercise to exclude Alderson-Broaddus and Davis & Elkins, both proud banner carriers of the WVIAC over the years? Does someone think the structure and makeup of a small college conference must be a mirror image of the Big 12, Big Ten or other Division I conferences?
To drop "West Virginia" and rename the conference "Mountain East" is an affront to all who love West Virginia.
People will scratch their heads and surmise that the Mountain East must be somewhere in the 10-state Appalachian region stretching from Canadian border to Alabama. There's no need to speculate where the West Virginia Conference is.
West Virginians hold tradition and heritage close to the heart. I don't know how many West Virginia college presidents and athletic directors feel the loyalty and pride of our residents. They should get in touch immediately and rethink this decision.
Also, I urge Reps. David McKinley, Shelley Moore Capito and Nick Joe Rahall, Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, Gov. Tomblin, legislators, sportswriters, business leaders and proud West Virginians to stop this debacle.
Do whatever it takes to preserve the name West Virginia Conference or demand a reasonable explanation regarding the same.
Marsh is a retired educator and coach.