A guide to the Spartan’s top rivals

As any sports fan would know, every team has that one rival team. The Indians have the Tigers. The Browns have the Steelers. Ohio State has Michigan. Rivalry games are a completely different experience from a regular sporting event.

There’s not just a heightened sense of competitiveness, but also a unique sense of determination and pride held by both players and fans. Rivals are determined through history, similarity and geographic proximity. Therefore, to get to know Case Western Reserve University’s biggest athletic rivals, it is important understand its history, as well as the schools around it.

In the mid-1980s, a group of administrators from well-respected research universities came up with the idea of creating a Division III Conference made up of schools that were located in major metropolitan areas and considered to be similar in academics. This resulted in the formal announcement of the University Athletic Association (UAA) on June 25, 1986.

The founding members of the UAA were CWRU, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Chicago, New York University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Washington University in St. Louis and University of Rochester. Out of those eight, all but one (Johns Hopkins) remain in the UAA, and one institution, Brandeis University, has since joined.

Almost all of CWRU’s athletic teams participate solely in the UAA. However, starting in 2014, CWRU’s football team rejoined the President’s Athletic Association (PAC). This jump is based on CWRU’s history with the PAC. In 1955, the two schools that later merged to make CWRU, Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, were founding members of the PAC. Once the schools merged, CWRU remained part of the PAC until 1986, when it joined the UAA.

Unlike the UAA, which includes schools from all around the eastern half of the United States, the PAC consists mainly of schools from Pennsylvania, with one school from West Virginia, and one from Kentucky (CWRU is the only school from Ohio). The conference includes Carnegie Mellon (football only), Bethany College, Geneva College, Grove City College, Saint Vincent College, Thiel College, Thomas More College, Washington & Jefferson College, Waynesburg University and Westminster College.

Although CWRU athletics straddle two different conferences, CWRU is known for having one primary rival: Carnegie Mellon, whose football team also joined the PAC alongside CWRU’s in 2014. Given the similarities between the two schools, it’s no surprise that they are rivals. Both are academic-minded research schools in similar cities with a competitive history. Each year, since 1970 the two schools’ football teams take part in the Academic Bowl, which CWRU has won for the past eight years. Their intense rivalry will continue on Nov. 14 in Pittsburgh.