With the sudden departures of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, coupled with the possibility of a major shift in conference realignment, the Big East has now been placed on the verge of non-existence.
Although it’s likely the Big East would try and absorb any remaining members of the Big 12 — provided the conference dissolves — to keep itself afloat, that hasn’t stopped multiple members, including Rutgers, Connecticut and West Virginia, from seeing the writing on the wall and trying to get the hell outta Dodge.
Unfortunately for the latter school, their attempts seem to be failing.
Multiple Big East sources have told Brett McMurphy of CBSSports — the man on the forefront of Syracuse/Pitt shuffle — that WVU officials have said both the SEC and the ACC have rejected the school’s application for membership.
The rejection by the ACC is no surprise; the Mountaineers have been passed over three times for ACC membership. A source with knowledge of the situation has told CFT that “every person I’ve spoken with said the same thing: the ACC does not want WVU.”
Multiple reports have stated that at least 10 schools had applied for ACC membership — including, apparently, West Virginia.
It wasn’t any secret that WVU was hoping for an invite from the SEC. Appearing on MetroNews Talkline yesterday, former WVU president Dr. Gene Budig said there was “no reason to be nervous” about the school’s future in conference realignment.
A day later, you can bet the folks in Morgantown have a reason to be anxious. Despite a recent history of success in football and basketball, West Virginia, as a state, has no television market or recruiting grounds, and as an institution, is not a member of the Association of American Universities*.
(*note: some conferences like the Big Ten and ACC place more consideration on academic standards than others)
This is not to say that WVU could not end up in the SEC down the road; it’ll depend on how large conferences go. Currently, the SEC doesn’t need to take another program just to have a body. West Virginia doesn’t exactly provide a ton of value for the reasons mentioned above — at least not in the current pool of available programs.
Regardless, it looks like West Virginia is going to have to wait the realignment drama out a little longer before they’ll know where they land.