"President Clements and I represented West Virginia University at last night's BIG EAST meeting in New York. The group concluded the meeting with a strategy to recruit top level BCS-caliber institutions that match the league's strong athletic and academic histories and traditions.
"As I stated before, WVU is an excellent flagship, land-grant University, with national-caliber athletic and academic programs. We are, and will remain, a national player in college athletics.
"The conference office will coordinate any further discussion on this issue."
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
WVU, which allegedly pledged its allegiance to the Big East will certainly still be looking out for its own interests. And, if the Big East's grand plan is to bring in the service academies, WVU has to continue looking outside of the conference.
One of those conferences may be the Big 12. The conference that was left for dead just a few days ago, may have been resurrected with the news that the key players are looking to stay and reform the league. With Texas A&M going to the SEC and maybe Missouri too, plus Nebraska and Colorado already gone, the Big 12 has holes to fill. BYU seems to be the priority, as it should be. The Cougars have a national following, and very good money tie-ins. The thinking is BYU will join if Texas and Oklahoma stay. Now that it the big boys are going to reportedly stay, pencil the Cougars in.
What about the other openings? Enter Andy Katz' article from last week. This story originally went under the radar due to the fact that it looked like the Big 12 was dead, and the Big East still had Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Big 12 athletic directors were given a list of schools to contact a few weeks ago once it became clear that Texas A&M would be departing the conference for membership in the SEC.
Arkansas and BYU were contacted but then, according to multiple sources, the athletic directors who were given the instructions did not reach out to the other three schools on the list -- Pittsburgh, Louisville and West Virginia of the Big East -- because Oklahoma president David Boren made comments that the Sooners were unsettled in their situation as a member of the Big 12 and were exploring their options.
Katz has continued to give this view all morning on SportsCenter. Arkansas isn't going anywhere. As mentioned before, BYU is looking good to join. Pittsburgh is ACC-bound, so that leaves Louisville and West Virginia as potential targets for the Big 12 to expand back up...at leads according to Katz.
One would imagine the Big 12 wants to get back to the actual "12", and establish that it will remain one of the premier conferences in the country. So, could both WVU and Louisville split from the Big East? Why not. Both schools to have to worry about the future Big East football, especially when the service academies are the alleged target to save the league. Both would also fit in well competitively with the Big 12. In fact, the schools would boost the conference as a basketball power. If this were to happen, the conference could also split into two new divisions.
Division One: WVU, Louisville, Missouri(or new team), Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State
Division Two: Baylor, BYU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech
Two very competitive divisions would also allow the conference to have a legit championship game. And of course, WVU and Louisville would not have to worry about losing the AQ status, since the two would be attached to Texas and Oklahoma.
So, as we debate, moan, and groan about the SEC and the Big East, maybe it's time to start paying more attention south-westward. The Big 12 could be the best fit for WVU.