Changes Likely for 2012 WVU Football Schedule - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Changes Likely for 2012 WVU Football Schedule

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck appeared on the sidelines of the Orange Bowl as the final minutes ticked off the clock in the fourth quarter. He emerged out of the Marlins dugout and began his walk across the field.

It took only a moment for Mountaineer fans to see him and they immediately began shouting, "Ollie, Ollie." They also gave him a standing ovation as he passed by on his way to the WVU sideline.

It was a moment of validation. A season of adversity that began last June with Dana Holgorsen ditching his Head Coach-in-waiting title for Head Coach ended with a 70-33 blowout of ACC Champion Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

It provided Luck the perfect stage to reaffirm his belief that WVU will be competing in the Big 12 next season regardless of the legal issues between West Virginia University and the Big East.

"There is no question that we will be playing a Big 12 schedule in all of our sports for the '12-'13 academic year," Luck stated. "We are telling our coaches to begin their non-conference scheduling based on the Big 12. We are committed to the Big 12 and I have no doubt that we are going to be in the Big 12 for the '12-'13 academic year."

Playing a Big 12 football schedule will pose some issues with the current non-conference schedule for the Mountaineers. WVU is currently scheduled to play Marshall, Maryland, James Madison and Florida State in 2012. The remainder of that schedule was reserved for a Big East slate consisting of eight games (TCU was expected to begin play in the Big East in 2012.)

A Big 12 schedule will consist of nine conference games giving each member three non-conference games. The NCAA requires a 12 game regular season schedule. Add nine Big 12 games with four non-conference games and WVU would have 13 games on its 2012 schedule.

If WVU is going to compete in the Big 12, obviously one non-conference game will need to be dropped.

WVU will not buyout the Maryland game because West Virginia would have to buyout the remainder of the series, which consists of six games.

WVU will not buyout the James Madison game in Washington, D.C. because it requires a $1 million buyout.

That leaves Marshall or Florida State. Marshall is set to be a home game while Florida State is scheduled to be a road game with the Seminoles set to visit Morgantown in 2013.

There is a $150,000 buyout for the Marshall game. Per the contract for the WVU-Florida State series, the buyout began at $350,000 but jumped to $500,000 once the September 8, 2012 game closed to within a year of its kickoff. WVU would also have to pay $350,000 to buyout the second game of that series for a total of $850,000.

Most fans would look at this and say it is a no-brainer to take the Marshall game off the schedule. However, there are several reasons why WVU would look to eliminate Florida State over Marshall.

-Marshall is a home game while Florida State is a road game. Eliminating the Marshall game means WVU also loses money from ticket sales and concessions.

-Florida State is expected to be nationally ranked. As one WVU official put it, "You have to win games somewhere." That official is right because going to a bowl game means a lot in terms of extra practices, exposure and financial benefits.

-Taking Florida State off the schedule also alleviates a similar problem in 2013 when the Mountaineers are also set to play four non-conference games.

Florida State is expected to do what it can to persuade WVU to avoid buying the series out. The Seminoles would face equally big issues if WVU does buyout the series. Florida State would have to schedule somebody else on short notice, which would likely require a large sum of money to do the contract. Florida State Athletic Director Randy Spertman is speculating it would cost his University $1 million to find a replacement.

The 2014-15 series against Michigan State could also be in jeopardy for similar reasons.

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