Bluefield State University is officially back in the CIAA after nearly 70 years. The West Virginia-based HBCU is back in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The news was revealed last November as HBCU Gameday broke the story.
BSU was previously a member of the CIAA from 1932 through 1955. It was forced to join the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) due to desgregation. When the WVIAC disbanded in 2013, Bluefield State was left searching for a home, while still competing as an NCAA DII independent member.
The CIAA will serve as the conference for 13 of the Big Blue Athletic Programs. These programs are Football, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country, Men’s and Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Volleyball, Men’s Golf, Softball, and Women’s Tennis.
“To be going back to the oldest HBCU conference and one of the oldest conferences in the NCAA is a perfect fit for Bluefield State University,” Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Derrick Price said in November. “Joining the CIAA is something that we made a priority from day one as an administrative team.”
The return to the CIAA was preceded by a return to football at Bluefield State University after more than 40 years. The program re-emerged following the COVID-19 pandemic and has competed against CIAA programs in football.
“We are extremely excited to be back in the CIAA Family!” BSU head coach Tony Coaxum told HBCU Gameday. “Truly honored to be among all the great HBCU institutions and looking forward to having our young men competing for championships!”
Bluefield State joins current CIAA members Bowie State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University, Livingstone College, Shaw University, St. Augustine’s University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University.