Luck Discusses Big 12 Transition - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Luck Discusses Big 12 Transition

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MORGANTOWN -

The countdown continues towards West Virginia University's move to the Big 12. For those wondering, WVU will be in the Big East for 92 more days before the official move to the Big 12 on July 1.

WVU President James Clements and Athletic Director Oliver Luck have already been participating in Big 12 meetings.

"I think it is going well," Luck said. "Just a lot of logistics in making sure all of our teams understand the different timing that goes on. Volleyball is on a different schedule now than they were in the Big East."

Luck met with other Big 12 Athletic Directors at the Big 12 basketball tournament. The conference routinely holds meetings around that tournament, which gave Luck his first chance to see what the Big 12 tournament is all about.

"There is a session we had maybe three weeks ago or so," Luck said. "It was around the basketball tournament in Kansas City, which was good for me to be at. It was a very nice tournament, different obviously from what we have been used to in Manhattan. That is difficult to replace. It is a special deal when you are at the Garden. Kansas City really rolls out the red carpet, which is nice."

Luck is scheduled to rejoin his Big 12 peers in Phoenix this May. Those are meetings that will also involve Bob Huggins, Mike Carey and Dana Holgorsen.

WVU has its 2012 Big 12 football schedule. It does not take long for anyone to look at that schedule and notice a couple of big differences from previous Big East schedules. The level of competition has increased and at this point, every game is scheduled to be played on Saturday. 

"Having Saturday football games is really a good thing for our student athletes compared to what we had in the past with Thursday and Friday games," Luck said. "I don't know the TV contracts well enough to know what could move. It is always a possibility and we are kind of used to that. The fact they are set initially from day one as all Saturday games is a good thing. Right now, we are planning for all Saturday games. That could change, but max my guess is we could see one game move."

There have been a few changes to future schedules. Florida State was removed from the 2012 schedule. Michigan State has been taken off the 2014 and 2015 schedules. Other changes may occur, but at this point WVU and Florida State should meet in Morgantown in 2013.

"They are still on the schedule," Luck stated. "Nothing has changed in terms of the 2013 schedule so Florida State is on the schedule. I would like to play them."

Those changes to future schedules are in direct response to joining the Big 12. WVU previously had room on its schedule for five non-conference games. Now the Mountaineers can only play three non-conference games with the other nine games on the schedule being against Big 12 opponents.

"I think seven of the 10 teams were rated in the top 25 at the end of this past season," Luck said. "We are obviously going to face some good people. We've got to take that into consideration as we look at our non-conference schedule. We have a scheduling philosophy very much like the other Big 12 schools. So I think as you look at their non-conference schedules you will see a similarity in what we are trying to do with ours."

Expansion continues to be the number one topic in college sports. Numerous teams have already changed conferences and many more are scheduled to move in the near future. It does not yet appear that the great conference realignment is over. West Virginia may not be the last team to join the Big 12.

"There has been a lot of discussion about expansion," Luck stated. "I won't divulge the contents of those talks. But, I do think there is a high level of discussion amongst the various schools. There is discussion and we will see how it all plays out. I think there is a high level of interest in the part of the conference to look around and see what the other conferences are doing. It is easy to count the schools in the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, which is 12, and the SEC and ACC with 14. That is something that is front and center in the minds of Big 12 folks."

West Virginia's nearest Big 12 neighbor is Iowa State, which is more than 800 miles away. WVU would certainly be open to adding a school or two much closer to Morgantown.

"There are a lot of different objectives you want to accomplish if expansion is a way to go," Luck said. "Certainly from our perspective, one would be having a neighbor that is not as far away as our nearest Big 12 opponent right now. Having a more geographic neighbor is important and having the other nine schools in the Big 12 recognize that. They certainly realize the importance of having Oklahoma and Oklahoma State right next door. The two Kansas schools are in close proximity. I think that is something that would be on the table if we get to that point."

The Big 12 was previously viewed as unstable. Oklahoma and Texas were considering changing conferences. The Big 12 lost Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC and promptly responded by adding TCU and West Virginia. The conference looked to become even more stable by dealing with its television rights. 

"The discussions on the TV side are going toward the possibility of doing a 13-year granting of rights," Luck said. "They have done a six-year deal, so that would be adding seven more years to it. For those who don't understand what a granting of right is, it simply means that you are turning over your most valuable asset, your television rights, to the conference. That is the biggest way to assure security and stability."

As WVU continues to move towards its final day in the Big East, the University continues to keep an eye on the future. That includes playing an important role in how the Big 12 moves forward.

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