WVU Looking to Secure Future in Conference Changes - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Looking to Secure Future in Conference Changes


Big East Conference Commissioner John Marinatto paced the far end of the press box at Maryland Saturday. Ear buds in place, cell phone held a few inches from his lips, he spoke in hushed tones about the secession of two of his league's members.

His voiced remained calm, but the pacing gave the appearance of a man who could not bring himself to sit and discuss such an enormous matter without some sort of physical release. So he paced.

As he walked back and forth in that fifth level of the box in College Park, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were walking away to the ACC.

Their departure from the Big East takes away two of its top basketball programs, two of the top television markets and two football programs with a history of success, even if they have struggled in recent years.

TCU has to be wondering if its commitment to the Big East will ever be honored.

If nothing else were to happen, the Big East would play the 2012 football season with just seven teams. But something else is going to happen. The Big 12 is faltering and the Big East has been searching for stability in football for years.  

Oliver Luck brought up the possibility of merging the remaining members of those two conferences in an interview earlier this month, and the idea remains on the table. More likely is West Virginia finding a new home rather than building one with other realignment refugees.

WVU President James Clements was at the Maryland game Saturday and he is working to keep his school in a position where it will not be left behind. Luck is doing the same and in reality every person associated with the university with any sort of power has done what he or she can to ensure that the Mountaineers remain relevant when the dust settles on this realignment.

This is not simply a matter of athletics. To think that is foolish. The WVU football and men's basketball teams impact the university's image, its finances and its appeal to high school students looking to throw thousands of dollars at an educational institution.

Whether it's the SEC, the ACC or some new combination conference, West Virginia needs to find its future home and work toward that. It would be swell if the university could consider its peers and keep other schools in tow as it moves, but that's just not the way this is working.

Selfishness. Greed and money are pushing the pieces into place, breaking up conferences and turning backs on tradition and rivalries. Schools are forced to use their survival instincts to save themselves, not caring which island they wash up on so long as they don't drown. The boats don't have room for two.

The future is uncertain. The Backyard Brawl comes into question with Pitt's move and the Schwartzwalder trophy begins thinking it could find a permanent home after WVU visits Syracuse in October.

We'll know soon what West Virginia's fate is, but it and the entire nation of college football is set for a major change.

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