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|Members||12 (11 in 2020, 13 in 2021)|
|Region||North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia|
|Former names||North State Conference (1930–1961)|
Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (1961–1995)
Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (1995–2007)
|Headquarters||Greenville, South Carolina|
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.
|Location of Conference Carolinas members: full, future, 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, now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 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. Pembroke State left in 1992.
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.
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.
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, Pfeiffer, Presbyterian, Queens, St. Andrews, UNC Pembroke (as Pembroke State), Western Carolina and Wingate.
Barton is the only remaining charter member followed in longevity by Mount Olive's joining in 1988.
Francis Marion University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke announced that they would leave the Peach Belt Conference to join Conference Carolinas, beginning in the 2021–22 school year. Francis Marion is joining for the first time, while UNC Pembroke is returning after an absence of nearly 30 years. They will be the first public schools to join CC since Longwood's 2003 departure.
- 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.
|Francis Marion University||Florence, South Carolina||1970||Public||4,187||Patriots||2021||Peach Belt|
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||Pembroke, North Carolina||1887||Public||7,698||Braves||2021[a]||Peach Belt|
- UNC Pembroke had been a conference member from 1976 to 1992 under its previous name of Pembroke State University.
|Coker University||Hartsville, South Carolina||1908||Private (Nonsectarian)||1,000||Cobras||2018||wrestling||South Atlantic|
|Newberry College||Newberry, South Carolina||1856||Private (Lutheran ELCA)||1,070||Wolves||2018||wrestling||South Atlantic|
|Queens University of Charlotte||Charlotte, North Carolina||1857||Private (Nonsectarian)||2,100||Royals||2018||wrestling||South Atlantic|
School names and nicknames reflect those in use during the final year each institution was a member.
- Appalachian State, East Carolina, and Western Carolina did not become part of the University of North Carolina system until 1972, after all had left the conference.
- Known since 2019 as Coker University.
- Known since 1967 as East Carolina University.
- Known since 2001 as Elon University. The "Elon College" name is now applied to the university's college of arts and sciences.
- Known since 2008 as Lenoir–Rhyne University.
- Known since 2013 as Mars Hill University.
- Known since 1996 as the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
- Pembroke State (now UNC Pembroke) became part of the UNC system in 1972, before joining the conference.
- Pembroke State will return to CC in 2021 under its current identity of UNC Pembroke.
- Known since 1995 as Wingate University.
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, 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:
|Swimming & Diving|
|Track & Field Indoor|
|Track & Field Outdoor|
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
- 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.
- Limestone will remain a CC wrestling member after its departure for the SAC, per the existing alliance between the two conferences in that sport.
Women's sponsored sports by school
Other sponsored sports by school
Departing member Limestone in red; future members Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke in gray.
- 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.
- Francis Marion men's golf currently plays as a Division I independent.
- UNC Pembroke will join Mountain East football in the 2020 season.
- NCAA Men's National Collegiate Volleyball Championship, in which the CC champion receives an automatic berth
- "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.
- "Limestone College to Join South Atlantic Conference in 2020-21" (Press release). South Atlantic Conference. April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- "Conference Carolinas Announces Addition of Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke" (Press release). Conference Carolinas. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
- Lopes, Vinnie (April 4, 2014). "The Little Conference That Could". Volleyball Magazine. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.