West Virginia Football: How Long Can Big 12 Wait for Mountaineers?

Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIIJanuary 25, 2012

What conference will WVA's Geno Smith be calling signals in next year, the Big East or the Big 12?
What conference will WVA's Geno Smith be calling signals in next year, the Big East or the Big 12?Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

How long can the Big 12 wait for WVU's Athletic Director Oliver Luck to paint over the Big East logo on Mountaineer Field, and replace it with that of the Big 12?

If he doesn't do it soon the Big 12 might have to forget about including the Mountaineers in any plans for the 2012 season.

The Big 12 needs a clear indication that WVU will be on board next year so it can finalize its schedules.

Luck has repeatedly said his team will play in the Big 12 in 2012, but according to Tom Fornelli, when he gets pinned down on the question, "he's not much help."  According to Fornelli, Luck told the Charleston Gazette he was sworn to secrecy. "I'm not going to comment. My silence is all I can offer."

Texas Tech president Guy Bailey feels confident Luck will back up his promise. He said West Virginia has assured him they'd be in there. "I believe them and I'm very hopeful...I think all of the realignment issues will be resolved in the next two weeks."

Bailey's attitude is certainly positive.


Why the Big 12 can't wait too much longer

Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas announces addition of TCU.  Will he be doing this for WVU shortly?
Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas announces addition of TCU. Will he be doing this for WVU shortly?Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Why can't the Big 12 wait too much longer for the Mountaineers—scheduling.

The dispute between WVU and the Big East is being handled by the courts, and it's putting both parties in a state of limbo. 

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel, in an article titled "Realignment has thrown a wrench in the Big 12 football schedule," reminds us that  if the courts or the Big East can't be persuaded to let West Virginia go, every Big 12 school will have to add a non-conference game.

He goes on to say if the Big 12 stays a nine-team conference in 2012, the effect of all schools trying to find an extra game would be, as he says, "grave."

Tramel says the Big 12 non-conference schedule is already looking dim. "It doesn't excite the networks."

If West Virginia doesn't make the move soon, Big 12 teams may have no choice but to start filling out their schedules, and there may not be too many FBS opponents available.  The longer they wait, the more they'll have to settle for FCS teams.

And adding more games against Texas, State, Missouri State, and Western Illinois, along with not doing much for the networks, is not going to help sell tickets.


Will WVU leave whether the case is settled or not?

Much has been written about WVU leaving without the case settled. There are arguments for and against this happening.

The Sporting News' Matt Hayes writes, "A high-placed Big East source told Sporting News that not only will the Big East not back off its 27-month notice of withdrawal for West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse, but there’s 'no chance' the three wayward universities can buy their way out of the contract."

He believes WVU can simply leave, but the damages would be huge.

Tom Fornelli thinks it's going to happen.  He writes, "West Virginia is going to jump to the Big 12 in time for the next school year and then just suffer the consequences of that decision. Consequences that could end up costing the school quite a bit of money."


Does Luck really believe WVU's next game will be played as a member of the Big 12?

While no one at this time knows how this dispute will end, Oliver Luck may be able to lower the anxiety levels of those in the Big 12 just a bit.

Though it may not be a guarantee WVU will a Big 12 member in 2012, he can get out the paint and cover the Big East logo, which sits on Mountaineer Field, with that of the Big 12.

Oliver, do you need a brush?