A couple of recent articles/columns on the website of Southern Pigskin.Com has stirred the debate of the future conference affiliation of the athletic programs at West Virginia University. Essentially, a columnist for the website opined a couple of weeks ago that West Virginia athletic director, Oliver Luck, was working to get the Mountaineers into the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not only that, but at the time the writer seemed to think things were actually moving in that direction. He suggested that a deal to bring West Virginia and Pitt into the ACC was a real possibility.
Of course such a development would be huge in the world of college athletics, but the writer could not offer viable sources to support his theory. That doesn’t mean he is full of it. If something like this were happening it is expected that no one involved would go on the record. You are seeing this here just to point out there is some recent smoke out there regarding the Mountaineers and their conference affiliation.
Many have suggested all along that a big reason for bringing Luck in as athletic director was to position WVU in a favorable spot for the next round of conference expansion. The current affiliation in the Big East is a good one. The basketball conference is arguably the best in the country. The football conference offers WVU the path of least resistance to a BCS Bowl payday.
The thing is, there are eight Division 1 football schools and eight non football playing schools that play basketball and other sports in the conference. It would seem to make sense to be in a conference where all member schools’ athletic departments would have a similar make up. One gets the feeling that the football side of the conference is a house of cards. As soon as a school sees an opportunity to find a more stable home, they will be gone and a move like that could easily bring the conference down.
If Southern Pigskin is correct, Luck and WVU may be trying to get out before they get left behind. You have to figure when another round of expansion occurs there will be some Big East schools that will be targeted for poaching. Not being left behind in the next round of moves in college athletics would seem critical to the health of the WVU football program. With that said, if the Big East football conference was assured of stability, staying put would be the first choice.
That choice, however, seems to be a risky one.