Morgantown, West Virginia – While several other Big 12 Conference athletic directors and presidents have spoken out concerning Texas and Oklahoma potentially moving to the SEC, it’s been radio silence in Morgantown at West Virginia University.
Reports are leaking out that Shane Lyons has been in touch with the ACC, but it’s likely that he’s also put out feelers to the Big Ten, the SEC, the AAC, the Big 12 and all of its constituents, and any and every other possibility for the Mountaineers.
While it would be reassuring to hear from Lyons or E. Gordon Gee that they’re working on putting West Virginia in the best possible place during this unusual, unsettling time in college athletics, it would do little more than get the hopes up of the masses during a time of real uncertainty.
Make no mistake about it, Lyons is doing everything that he can right now and ultimately it will come down to whether the ACC feels like West Virginia will add significantly to its brand.
Of course it all comes down to money and if the ACC wants to expand, West Virginia is its best reasonable bet. Notre Dame is unlikely and all of the other remaining Big 12 teams don’t make sense geographically.
Although academics and facility renovations were the issue for the ACC when West Virginia reportedly reached out in 2011, Lyons has made tremendous upgrades to the university’s athletic facilities, and academics seem less and less important during this unpredictable time.
The ACC now has to worry about the SEC taking two of its most important programs – Clemson and Florida State – to form a massive super conference. Adding a future key “free agent” like West Virginia would strengthen the conference if that doesn’t happen and help to rebuild it if it does.
With this all said, you have to like West Virginia’s chances of ending up where they’ve always belonged, in the ACC. West Virginia now has a compelling case that they provide the conference with a passionate fanbase and stability heading into a very unstable college landscape.