Alright, here we go. Another domino in the college conference realignment has fallen as UCLA and USC are reportedly finalizing a move to the Big 10. It was first reported by Jon Wilner and confirmed by multiple national journalists.
Wilner reports that the move could come as soon as 2024. This news, along with Texas and Oklahoma set to head to the SEC by 2025, it’s pretty clear what the future of college athletics looks like: mega conferences. The SEC and the Big 10 are the most stable Power-5 conferences currently with the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12 just fighting at this point to survive. After Texas and Oklahoma announced their eventual exit from the Big 12, the conference rebounded and picked up BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Now the Pac 12 is in the same situation as they’ll fight to keep their conference alive.
How does this news affect West Virginia’s conference state?
WVU is in a very unique situation as the Big 12 transitions into a new identity. On Wednesday, the conference officially hired Brett Yormack as its fifth commissioner in history. Yormack will start his job on Aug. 1, which he doesn’t have much collegiate experience. As the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12 try to stay alive, they may poach teams from one another to do so. The Big 12 could try and add Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado or Utah which are good markets. But the Pac 12 could go after Texas Tech, TCU or Houston to retaliate for losing UCLA and USC.
West Virginia fans for the past 10 years have complained about the lack of proximity in the Big 12, but it’s all about the money. Proximity doesn’t matter as much as it did 20 years ago. West Virginia should sit back and see who wins the bidding battle between the Big 12 and Pac 12. WVU doesn’t have much say in the fight, but if the ACC throws out the offer to join, they should take it without hesitating.
In the end, college athletics will be two major conferences with divisions. As we are years ahead of this happening, who knows how many teams would be included. This is where college athletics stand currently but all WVU can do is sit back and watch.
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