WVU athletic director Oliver Luck clearly stated in an interview with WVUSports.com that the Big 12 will be expanding. He further even hinted where the teams may come from.
In the over two-hour and forty-minute signing-day video, Tony Caridi and Jed Drenning interviewed everyone associated with the latest WVU recruiting class. Last but certainly not least was Oliver Luck. The interview with Luck starts at 2:29:10 in the video.
After a few remarks regarding WVU athletics in general, Drenning asked Luck about Big 12 conference expansion relative to the recent Big 12 meetings. Luck said,
There is additional movement to come in conference realignment. We can't allow what happened to the Big East happen to the Big 12 as far as only having 10 teams. We're happy where we are right now but nobody believes conference realignment is over. But, it is important for us to have eastern partners in the conference.
Those are the WVU athletic director's words, not mine. In his own words, he acknowledges that expansion is coming. I think most of us assumed that much.
But Luck also stated, "But, it is important for us to have eastern partners in the conference." That doesn't rule out schools in the West being part of the expansion. But he certainly made clear Eastern schools would be included—and indicated plural in his statement.
ESPN reports that Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also said after the 2013 Athletic Directors' meetings,
We feel very good about where we are. Beyond that, we'd be unwise to be oblivious to all that is going on around us. We need to be constantly vigilant. I think in coming out of these meetings we're prepared very well for that vigilance.
Bowlsby has previously indicated that several schools are interested in the Big 12, but few qualify. He has made clear that additional schools have to bring an economic value required to maintain the established payout to current schools.
That means any additional school would need to be pre-qualified by ESPN/FoxSports to be admitted. That certainly narrows down the list of possibilities. As far as Eastern schools, the consensus is that FSU and Clemson qualify. They bring more economic value to the ACC than any other schools.
Don't forget Louisville. They had obviously passed the litmus test when the Big 12 decided between UL and WVU. Their value has probably grown since then.
I still believe the Big 12 is waiting for the Big Ten to make the next move. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio State President Gee made clear in a statement to the Buckeye Athletic Council that more expansion is coming.
It appears that it is not a matter of if the two conferences are going to expand, it's where and by how many.
Comments and debate are welcome and appreciated.
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