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WV senator speaks on rumors of Big 12 lobbying by Louisville

Joe Manchin

Things turned ugly — and fast, too — today when word began spreading today that Louisville, not West Virginia as it was thought not 24 hours ago, could become the Big 12′s 10th member.

West Virginia had received a verbal invitation from the Big 12 yesterday, and the two sides were all but set to announce their marriage today via press conference. But, a late push from Louisville has sent the Big 12 into a mode of reconsideration, as it’s now being reported that the conference is “50-50″ on which school to accept.

Pete Thamel of the New York Times reported today that Louisville’s sudden burst back into the Big 12 discussion was courtesy of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a former Louisville graduate and political acquaintance of Oklahoma president David Boren.

Naturally, West Virginia’s own political body wasn’t happy about the reports. West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller issued a statement saying “The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program — period… I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits.”

At 6 p.m. ET, fellow WV senator Joe Manchin (pictured) held a press conference to discuss matters pertaining to WVU’s conference destination.

“Don’t fault politicians for lobbying for their school,” Manchin said. “[But if a] U.S. senator intervened after the Big 12 picked WVU, I will ask for investigation.”

Manchin added that the US Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation would be the ones leading an investigation if it was believed McConnell — or anyone else – intervened with conference expansion.

“I’m not accusing Senator McConnell,” Manchin explained. “I would expect McConnell to lobby for Louisville, but not after the Big 12 makes its decision.

“The Big 12′s commitment was stronger than just verbal to WVU.”

Louisville and West Virginia appear to be in a dead-heat to the finish line as they scramble to get out of the beleaguered Big East, despite the conference’s best efforts to close the deal on such schools as Boise State. Although it’s believed that WVU holds the key to the Big East’s future as a BCS conference, grabbing the Broncos would be a significant addition football-wise to a conference that so desperately needs quality teams.

The Big 12 doesn’t have that problem, but its preference is to remain at 10 teams if Missouri leaves for the SEC. Getting that 10th team has, obviously, been an issue.

I literally don’t know what’s going to happen,” a Big 12 source told the Dallas Morning News.

There’s been outside influences for every school,” another Big 12 source told the Associated Press. “Everybody’s politicians are calling. I don’t mean that in a negative way. They’ve all been positive and no one has tried to coerce anybody into anything.”

“Those two [WVU and Louisville] certainly have been discussed a lot,”  the official said. “And I wouldn’t rule out other schools just yet.”

(Quotes courtesy of John Kirkhoff from WV MetroNews) 

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17 Responses to “WV senator speaks on rumors of Big 12 lobbying by Louisville”
  1. Romulus says: Oct 26, 2011 7:10 PM

    typical republicans. always trying to pull strings behind closed doors.
    just throw in the lawyers and corporate suits and you have a party, republican style, drinking crude oil.

  2. steelersandladyboysfan says: Oct 26, 2011 7:19 PM

    Isn’t this the same guy who pulled some strings to get his daughter a bogus diploma?

    Save me the ethics talk sleazeball.

  3. thefiesty1 says: Oct 26, 2011 7:32 PM

    Take them both, you idiots. If Missouri ever decides to stay, then go get another one and get back to 12. To hell with all the politicians lobbying. Any politician that has ever held any public office should not be allowed to run for re election. They’ve had their chance to screw everything up, so get out and go away.

  4. qcubed3 says: Oct 26, 2011 7:56 PM

    God I hate Mitch McConnell. Everything that fat jowled fool says makes my skin crawl.

  5. lottsmissingfinger says: Oct 26, 2011 8:27 PM

    Amazed that, of all conferences, the Big 12 was not prepared for this. Politicians got involved when the conference was created. Baylor was the 4th team from the old SWC to get in because the sitting governor (Ann Richards) and her predecessor were both Baylor grads leaving TCU out in the cold.

  6. bbeaman78 says: Oct 26, 2011 8:50 PM

    This is the dumbest $h1t ever. 9+1=10, 10+1= 11, and finally 12-11=1. 1 team from being 12 teams and back to a conference championship. Big 12 interim commish is as bad as Beebe. How stupid are these people?

    So f’ing tired of the big 12 getting my hopes and then not explaining themselves. You 2 schools killing each other to join. Take them both. It’s like the invitations, applications, and acceptance docs are being filled out by Chuck Neinas with pencil or a typewriter. Get up to date chuck!

    Big 12 sucks!

  7. waahmbulance1 says: Oct 26, 2011 11:47 PM

    …doesn’t the government have more important issues to worry about?

  8. TxGrown says: Oct 27, 2011 12:31 AM

    “typical republicans.”
    Please as if the demos are any better.

  9. ihateannouncers says: Oct 27, 2011 12:55 AM

    Typical politicians…using their position to influence something they have no business sticking their nose into. Both parties have their share of scumbags.

  10. chmba says: Oct 27, 2011 7:56 AM

    Shows again the Big 12 (Texas and lapdog) conference is a dysfunctional joke. Yes political interference is common, Boren turns out to be an idiot (see PAC-12 mess), Neinas is another buffoon (by the way, DeLoss Dodds got Neinas a sideline 6 figure “consulting” job with one of his cronies so Neinas will know who he really works for). I am no fan of WVU or Louisville but Louisville is like a C-USA team so obvious that Texas would prefer another patsy to a legitimate team such as WVU!

  11. norcalirish says: Oct 27, 2011 8:15 AM

    Just when I thought that this whole “conference realignment” bs couldn’t get any more ridiculous.

  12. maddogwhite says: Oct 27, 2011 10:00 AM

    This thing has LARGER ramifications than anyone could realize. Word from inside WVU is that McConnell has been bombarded by WV Republicans, warning him that if the Big 12 takes Louisville over WVU it will cost the Republicans the state in the 2012 Presidential Election.

    WV is a swing state that, in a close election, could be decisive.

    McConnell did not expect to get caught interfering and collaborating with former Sen. Boren, who suddenly changed his loyalty to Louisville upon McConnell’s entreaties.

    Now that the cat is out of the bag, insiders at WVU are expecting Big 12 reps to be in state in the next couple of days to announce the official move.

  13. kcrobert10 says: Oct 27, 2011 10:56 AM

    This is yet another reason why mizzou is jumping ship. What a bunch of clowns…..

  14. olskool711 says: Oct 27, 2011 11:09 AM

    Is it important that on a board where most of the members are slamming a self-serving, republican politician as being unethical that he is in fact a

    democrat?

    No.

    Do facts matter? Not when it comes to liberals, socialists, “progressives” trying to scream, whine, and cry their agendas down our throats.

    Thank God democrats are so honest and true.

    The “ends” justify the means (do whatever it takes).

  15. olskool711 says: Oct 27, 2011 11:13 AM

    West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller issued a statement saying “The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program — period… I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits.”

    He will do whatever it takes!

  16. burntorangehorn says: Oct 27, 2011 11:36 AM

    olskool711 says:
    Oct 27, 2011 11:09 AM
    Is it important that on a board where most of the members are slamming a self-serving, republican politician as being unethical that he is in fact a

    democrat?

    No.

    Do facts matter? Not when it comes to liberals, socialists, “progressives” trying to scream, whine, and cry their agendas down our throats.

    Thank God democrats are so honest and true.

    The “ends” justify the means (do whatever it takes).
    ===================================
    Mitch McConnell isn’t a democrat. And while we’re each welcome to our political bents, I don’t see any socialists forcing any agendas down any American throats. If you think that’s happening, you probably just don’t understand the definition of the word “socialism.” And I’ll kindly point you to the previous administration’s single-party rule if you’d like to see an example of forcing agendas.

  17. pastabelly says: Oct 27, 2011 1:50 PM

    It’s not as if this hasn’t happened before. It’s exactly what went down with the ACC expansion when Miami was supposed to come in with Boston College and Syracuse and then the Virginia politicians got involved. Each state and each school has always looked out for itself. Nothing new here.

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