Friday, October 28, 2011

Let's Go Mountaineers...to the Big 12!

West Virginia University is leaving the Big East and joining the Big 12.

ESPN takes a look at what the decision means for both conferences.
"This move by West Virginia does not come as a surprise," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement Friday. "League officials, members of our conference and the candidate schools to whom we have been talking were aware of this possibility. We have taken West Virginia's possible departure into account as we have moved forward with our own realignment plans."
Marinatto also said Friday that West Virginia is aware that the conference will enforce the 27-month notification period to leave the Big East -- the same rule applied to Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who have agreed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Big 12, however, seems to think West Virginia will come to the conference sooner than 27 months.
In a news release Friday announcing the addition of West Virginia, the Big 12 said that "beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 will be comprised of 10 universities -- Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia." Missouri was not included in the release.
ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that the ACC was ready to take Pitt and Syracuse as soon as the two could join the conference.
The Sporting News suggests there is a more important issue for the Big East to consider -- its future -- rather than demanding the three "we're-outta-here" schools stay for 27 months.
...the Big East has never been this desperate. Houston, Central Florida, SMU, Air Force, Navy, and anyone else the Big East might collaborate with in the coming days—not a lot of Q rating there. Certainly, not a lot of shared tradition.
The Big East continues to walk a line between catering to potential members and ignoring its current membership, and that could be dangerous.
Louisville AD Tom Jurich openly admitted to CardinalSports.com that his school had “a lot of interaction” with the Big 12 and that West Virginia “won” what for now appears to have been that conference’s only available spot. Does that sound like an AD who’s happily marching into the future with the Big East?
Meanwhile, Jurich’s iconic basketball coach, Rick Pitino, singled out one of Louisville’s league mates in surprisingly frank, and not exactly flattering, terms. Pitino told ESPN that he’d had a one-on-one discussion with Marinatto and told him “the only school that would leave now if it could is Connecticut. They want to go to the ACC. So plan for that.”
Already sarcastically referred to in many quarters as "The Big Least", the Big East might also be dubbed "The Biggest Loser" in the reshaped college athletics landscape. Keeping Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia because of a contractual obligation is not a sound strategy.

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