Bluefield State College seeks conference status. They are petitioning to become a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).
Originally Bluefield Colored Institute, the institution educated children of black coal miners in segregated West Virginia. Although it maintains it’s HBCU status, today Bluefield State College is 90 percent white. The new landscape is a result of a few factors. The Supreme Court declared segregation illegal in Brown v. Board of Education. As a result, African American families moved away from West Virginia in search of better educational opportunities. At the same time, White veterans began moving back to the area to mine coal after serving in Korea. Consequently, Bluefield State had gone from an all-black college to a mostly white commuter school in the span of about two decades.
This year, Bluefield State made progress in its athletic program and now wants become a part of a nationally known athletic conference. Jim Nelson, Vice President of Community Engagement believes this can help establish the college.
In any case, the predominantly white HBCU completed its first football season in 40 years this past fall. They ended the season with an impressive 4-3 record.
The CIAA has not yet to responded to the petition.