BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — Bluefield State University made a special announcement concerning its athletic department.

Bluefield State announced it will be rejoining the CIAA, or the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The CIAA is the nation’s oldest historically black conference and Bluefield State was formally part of the association from 1932 to 1955. For many alumni, including Ergie Smith, the university rejoining the CIAA means so much for them and the future of the university.

“Oh, this is marvelous, I can’t believe, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that we’re gonna go back to the conference. I just think as successful as we have been and continue to be in, that without a conference we wouldn’t be able to go the full route,” Smith said.

The university will officially join as a full member starting July 1st, 2023.