The definitive announcement was made on Monday.
Shepherd and 11 other NCAA Division II schools have officially formed the Mountain East Conference that will begin playing football (and other sports) in 2013.
Eleven of the schools play football. Only Wheeling Jesuit, not one of the original new-conference members mentioned in June when news broke of the intentions to form a new league, will not sponsor a football program.
Reid Amos, the spokesman for the new conference, revealed the details of what will be a multi-sports league.
Nine of the 12 schools in the Mountain East have been members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC).
Three outside schools will join those nine from within the geographic boundaries of the state of West Virginia.
Joining from the state of West Virginia are Shepherd, Fairmont, Glenville, West Liberty, Concord, Charleston, West Virginia Wesleyan, West Virginia State, and Wheeling Jesuit. Wheeling Jesuit is the only school from those nine that has no football program.
Urbana University (located in Urbana, a town of 10,000 in Champaign County) and Notre Dame (South Euclid) are located in Ohio and UVa-Wise (Wise, Va.) are the other three schools that bring the number of league members to an even dozen.
Two of the current WVIAC members from Pennsylvania — Seton Hill and Pitt Johnstown — are both expected to join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
The current WVIAC members left out of the new league are Davis & Elkins, Alderson-Broaddus, Ohio Valley, and Bluefield. Only Alderson-Broaddus has football and it is fielding its first team in 2012.
UVa-Wise has been a member of the NAIA before making an application to be given NCAA Division II status. The school was granted Division II membership.
Urbana has been in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and Notre Dame of Ohio has been competing in five sports in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and in other sports as an independent.
The new 12-school conference will compete as an NCAA Division II entity.
The West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will remain intact for the 2012-13 school year.
When first revealed by Amos at West Liberty, the avowed purpose of the new conference was to give member schools more exposure via cable television and regional networks that would air football games to an area that the league’s “footprint” would cover.
Also, the WVIAC has little stature with the NCAA organization when it comes to the football credence the league holds. In the annual NCAA Division II football playoffs, the WVIAC has not received at-large bids and only the conference champion enters the national playoffs.
Both Shepherd and West Virginia Wesleyan had 9-2 football records in 2011 and neither of them was given a berth in the national playoffs.
Shepherd had reached the national semifinals in 2010.
Amos has gotten West Liberty football games on a regional cable network. Now he has a calendar year to get some of the Mountain East Conference games on a similar regional cable network.