Brian Hand, Assistant Commissioner for External Relations
GREENVILLE, S.C. – The conference was initially formed as an athletic association “for the greater advantage of the small colleges in North Carolina” on Dec. 6, 1930.
The name given back then was the North State Intercollegiate Conference, but it was known informally as the Old North State Conference. The birthplace of the league that is now known as Conference Carolinas was the Washington Duke Hotel in Durham, North Carolina and the seven charter and founding members were Appalachian State, Atlantic Christian (now Barton College), Catawba, Guilford, Elon, High Point and Lenoir-Rhyne.
On May 20, 1961 the name of the conference was changed to the Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAC), but it was commonly known less formerly as the Carolinas Conference.
The 1995-96 year brought dramatic change to the conference. First, the conference moved from the NAIA to full membership into NCAA Division II. At the time another name change occurred and the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (known more universally as the “CVAC”) was born.
The league decided to go back to its roots and change its name to Conference Carolinas in 2007.
Conference Carolinas features 11 members in the 2020-21 academic year. The league will expand to 13 members for the 2021-22 academic year with the addition of Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke. Francis Marion will be first-time members of Conference Carolinas, while this will be UNC Pembroke’s second time as a member of Conference Carolinas (1976-92).
Conference Carolinas member institutions in the 2020-21 academic year are Barton, Belmont Abbey, Chowan, Converse, Emmanuel, Erskine, King, Lees-McRae, Mount Olive, North Greenville and Southern Wesleyan.
Conference Carolinas believes in the development and formation of the whole person in body, mind and soul. Our students are nationally recognized for their extraordinary success in the classroom, in the community and at the highest levels of NCAA competition.