After a week of back and forth West Virginia is now officially a new/future member of the Big 12 Conference. The move puts the league at eleven teams for now, but most expect the Missouri Tigers to depart for the SEC in the very near future.
The vote was unanimous in adding the Mountaineers and team that has reached both a basketball Final Four and won a BCS football game in their time in the Big East. That's something that likely departing member Missouri cannot say and by that standard, this appears to be a move that strengthens the stability of the conference going forward.
Kansas Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger released a statement on the Big 12's newest addition.
"We're excited to welcome West Virginia University. West Virginia is a proud, flagship University with a successful athletics program led by an outstanding individual, Oliver Luck. We look forward to competing against the Mountaineers."
I couldn't agree more. Minus the travel situation that will raise a few concerns, West Virginia is a solid institution from an athletic standpoint adding strength to both football and basketball. In reality the addition of West Virginia is probably an even better move than that of TCU in the short term if you throw the travel argument out the window.
Obviously the next step is determining when WVU will join. The statement says 2012-2013 but the Big East might contest that. Then we'll need to wait out final word on the Tigers. The other team thrown around this week was Louisville and if it's me, I try to make that happen quickly whether I'm the Big 12 or Louisville. Yes there is the chance that the league ends up at an awkward eleven team alignment, but let's be honest...that's probably not going to be the case.
H/T To Fetch for the early fanshot on this.