Pittsburgh and Syracuse are already gone to the ACC. UConn is reportedly trying to be gone to the same conference. Rutgers also appears to be interested in anything other than its current conference for future affiliation.
Now, the Big East could be faced with yet another significant defection. Maybe.
Colin Dunlap, former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer and current radio host on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, sent out a series of tweets Sunday evening suggesting that West Virginia’s interest in a move to the SEC is escalating. Specifically, Dunlap, citing a university source, writes that “WVU sent paperwork to [the] SEC today.” Subsequent to that tweet, Dunlap wrote, in part, “It is very simple. WVU has an interest in SEC. The SEC has an interest in WVU. WVU sent paperwork to SEC.”
The fact that West Virginia maintains an interest in the SEC is not exactly new news; speculation connecting that university to that conference has been around for weeks. The fact that the school has reportedly sent paperwork — presumably an application for membership — suggests the situation is further along than many had known. It’s highly unlikely WVU would take the step to “send paperwork”, if that’s indeed the case, unless they were given at least backchannel assurances they would be welcomed into the SEC.
Suffice to say, the school has remained tight-lipped regarding their future conference affiliation.
“There is no question that the landscape of college athletics is once again changing,” WVU athletic director Oliver Luck said in a statement released a few hours after the Pittsburgh-Syracuse news became official. “West Virginia University has great tradition as the state’s flagship land-grant institution, and we will continue working to do what’s best for our University and its athletic teams. No matter how the college athletic landscape changes, there is no doubt WVU is and will remain a national player.”
Note that there’s not a single mention of the Big East in Luck’s statement.
While it’s far from a done deal, the potential WVU-to-the-SEC situation bears watching over the next few days, especially if all hell breaks loose on the other side of the country and prompts other conferences to respond in kind.