By: Anni Ashworth
West Virginia University moving to the Big 12 is the biggest news the state has had in a while. It’s been obvious for weeks that WVU no longer wants to be a part of the Big East. But the fact that there is only one familiar team on future schedules is sort of mind blowing.
There are many new opportunities for the Mountaineers in the Big 12 Conference. The team is the second new member to join the Conference since it began in 1996, the other being TCU, and will start participating athletically July 1, 2012. Consisting of Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech, the Big 12 Conference has won 42 team-national championships and 492 NCAA individual crowns. The new addition won’t only benefit the other teams, because WVU will be a power house among power houses, but it will help the conference in the long run too.
The road to the Big 12 hasn’t been the easiest, however. There was a huge debate over whether WVU’s resignation from the Big East was true because their original contract required them to wait a 27-month waiting period before it was official. WVU’s loophole was the fact that in that same contract, the Big East was required to keep the football conference viable, but failed to do so. It’s pretty clear that the Big East knows with the loss of WVU their conference will basically disappear which is why they fought as hard as they could to get the team to stay.
Another downside to the conference redistribution is the potential loss of the Backyard Brawl. The West Virginia vs. Pitt game has been a tradition since 1895, but with the Mountaineers’ Big 12 schedule containing nine conference match ups, they only have three non-conference games to try to jam the rivalry into.
Overall, I believe the move promises West Virginia University new stability and credibility for years to come. When the 2012-13 season comes around, it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be the best opportunity the Mountaineers have had in a long time.