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April 19, 2012

The great thing about self-aggrandizing, big-egoed folk. When they are  letting you know how brilliant they are, they reveal other tidbits.

Hoopie AD Oliver Luck is one of those people. Someone who believes he is the smartest person in the room, and always happy to tell you why. So, now he’s talking about leaving the Big East for the Big 12. It all started with the Texas-planted story about expansion.

At least one report placed Pittsburgh on the supposed “Big 12 short list.”

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck saw it, and thus began the Mountaineers’ road to the Big 12.

“If Pitt is on the short list, there’s no reason that West Virginia shouldn’t be on the Big 12 short list,” Luck told “That’s when, to myself, I began to think, because normally, you don’t think Big 12 and Pittsburgh. You don’t think Big 12 and West Virginia. “

Especially since the ACC and SEC weren’t interested. Do go on, and confuse the timelines.

“I remember saying to myself and saying to my wife, ‘If that story was accurate, and Pitt used that as leverage to get in the ACC,’ I remember thinking, Well, this is certainly a possibility.”

Well, I am guessing that was just poor editing — or writing — of the piece. It seems more likely Luck came back to the original rumor after the announcement that Pitt and Cuse were heading to the ACC.

I’m not so sure Pitt used the Big 12 as leverage directly. It was as much Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 with the possibility of the Pac-12 plucking schools from the Big 12 as well that spurred the proactiveness of the ACC. Not that the Big 12, or more specifically Texas, supported rumors of wanting Pitt didn’t give Pitt some advantage. I just don’t think it was that much leverage since Pitt was rather dismissive of the whole Big 12 rumor from the beginning.

But Luck does reveal a bit of the Big East we all kind of knew or suspected when the football members met after Pitt and Cuse announced they were leaving.

“I think it was pretty obvious that the league was going to struggle. We hadn’t added a new member since 2005. Sitting in these AD meetings, there was no expansion committee to speak of,” Luck said. “You’re down to five members with no clearcut expansion candidates with no activity, so at that point, I think people — and not just me — realized that we needed to look around and make sure first and foremost that we were going to be in a conference that maintained high standards and high quality opponents.”

I know, stunning. The Big East was unprepared and didn’t know what to do. The very thing Pitt warned the Big East of, the previous April. Every school for itself time. You had UConn calling the ACC, asking “what about me?” Rutgers was calling the ACC and Big 10. Louisville was making calls. USF and Cinci were looking around saying, “We are so screwed.”

West Virginia looked around and saw Rutgers as the only original member of the Big East when the Mountaineers joined in 1991.

“We didn’t really leave the Big East. It left us,” Luck said. “We had joined a conference that had certain schools like Virginia Tech, and now we were finding ourselves with only one original member.”

Fair point, even if a little stretched by an AD that returned to WVU in 2010, so it’s not like he’s been there for the changes. The ACC by next year will have more original Big East football members (5) than the Big East (2).

WVU was most aggressive in finding a life-preserver from the Big 12. Aided in no small part by their willingness to bolt for 2012. It may not have been classy, but that’s not their style.

Now, let ole’ Ollie tell everyone how awesome he was in getting out of the Big East to the Big 12.

“I didn’t give (the Big East) any explanation. I said we’re leaving. We never flinched. We never blinked. We said we’re not going to be playing in the Big East any longer beyond this season. We made it very clear we had no intention of compromising,” Luck said. “We said ‘We’re leaving, don’t waste your time trying to convince us to stay. We’re gone.’ I think that helped the process. It certainly accelerated it, because they realized very quickly that there was no turning back from us.”

Ignore the dueling lawsuits and the $20 million you paid to settle. That wasn’t a compromise. It was a negotiation. Yes, it was all you Ollie. Brandishing your twig and intimidating the Big East. Senator Manchin on line 2, to claim his credit.

For Luck’s next trick: Sobering up Bob Huggins for public speaking engagements.

Make fun all you want, but his reasons are fair and he got the job done.

Comment by Jamie H 04.19.12 @ 1:42 pm

His reasons are a bit revisionist but I do admire his FU Big East attitude. The price paid however was too high for any school that values academics over athletics. He’s one lucky SOB because the ACC and SEC both said a loud and firm NO when Luck inquired. Have fun playing in the Big 12 Hoopies and being Texas’ bitch. And, when the Big 12 unravels in 5 years after Texas and OU get invites to the Big 10, have fun crawling back on your hands and knees to the Big East.

Huggins does need some help. But, WVU looks up to these kinds of drunks as long as they win. They have no shame.

Comment by TX Panther 04.19.12 @ 1:53 pm

They’ll be back to Conference USA or Big East in 3-5, 5-10 years when the Big12 disolves.

It’s going to 4 conferences of 16 eventually. Only question marks are where Notre Dame goes, ACC or Big 10. And when I guess. 5 years or 10 years.

Then the other question is where will the 4 headed monster of Texas, Oklahoma, Okie St and Texas Tech go??

Some minor other adjustments, but those two groups will eventually jump on to the four main conferences and there will be a playoff of 8 teams.

This playoff system, will also force Notre Dame to leave it’s independence. There will be back-door memos, letting ND know, you’re not in a conference, gonna kinda “be tough” for you to get an invite to the playoffs.

So, all in all, Luck did a good stop gap measure for WVU for the next few years. In the future however, WVU will be floating out there with Cincy, UCONN, Iowa St. and Baylor, looking in from the outside.

Comment by Dan 04.19.12 @ 1:54 pm

This big east story over the past year has been… for lack of a better analogy… a wonderful soap opera where drama is seen around every turn, where backstabbing and turning coat are just part of the game. A game where thousands watch, and entire histories, rivalries, and power shift towards what seems the inevitable damnation of the BCS.

Comment by Benzene 04.19.12 @ 2:07 pm

CLASSIC Bobby H. Classic WVU…just classic. Every day I’m proud to live my life knowing that I never have associated or will associate myself with one of our country’s greatest and most embarassing flaws: WVU. That is the last and only agrument needed.

Comment by Get the Glory 04.19.12 @ 2:44 pm

His reasons may be “fair” (whatever that means) but nothing else was … leaving the BE abruptly as WVU did actually made Pitt and Cuse (and Swofford for that matter) look pretty classy.

It will be interesting to see how the other B12 teams adapt to coming into Morgantown for the winter sports on a regular basis.

Comment by wbb 04.19.12 @ 3:11 pm

Yeah, I am going to miss having Bob Huggins’ teams in our conference in a couple years; I really am.

Comment by Jeff 04.19.12 @ 3:34 pm

Dan – You claim WVU will be “afloat” in a few years if the BigXII implodes. Are you also worried about Pitt being irrelevant next year and every year after that if the ACC stays together? Case-in-Point: BC.

Comment by Jeff 04.19.12 @ 4:06 pm

No, not at all.

Comment by Dan 04.19.12 @ 7:25 pm

It is an insult to the blind to suggest that “a blind man could have seen” the demise of the Big East coming. The reality is that the BE sealed its fate when it did not comeback stronger after the ACC raid. Villanova was never an option, but UCF was. East Carolina, Memphis and navy were all there. It just takes vision.
That the league remained cloistered in Providence is just the symptom of the larger problem….ARROGANCE…there is a reason companies have HQ’S in New York. Providence isn’t on anyone’s map for matters like this.
Surrounding yourself with “yes men” didn’t work for Nero and it didn’t work for the BE. Petino would have been a great commish. But not to be.
Damn glad Pitt goes to the ACC…rather travel to CH, Durham, Blacksburg, Miami than Piscataway!

Comment by SFPitt 04.19.12 @ 9:51 pm

Hey jeff Pitt is Not BC, Second the BE was done when marinatto froze on the TV deal

Comment by 63 Team 04.19.12 @ 10:26 pm

Jeff, go back to Morganhole and burn a couch why don’t you. Pitt is not BC and never will be. The Hoopies should be very concerned in 5 years so worry about that one instead. And piss off.

Comment by TX Panther 04.19.12 @ 10:53 pm

I believe the Big East will be a stronger football league when their new teams join than before Pitt, cuse and WVU announced their departure. Of course BB took a hit despite Temple and Memphis additions. Despite this there is NO QUESTION that Pitt will be better off in the ACC in the long run. The ACC is in fact one of the most stable of all conferences. I look forward to Pitt vs Maryland games as well as playing FSU and VT. Also and in closing Ollie is a gigantic ass. But we all knew that did we not?

Comment by OhioSteeler 04.19.12 @ 11:45 pm

Navy blog The Birddog has an interesting post about the hopes and aspirations of moving to the Big East.

link to

It’s funny to see how fans of each team: Pitt, WVU and Navy each have a good degree of optimism regarding the future of their teams and new conferences. Earlier today I listened to some WVU fan going on about how he thought the Big 12 would flourish in the next 5-10 years and the ACC would be getting poached in the not-too-distant future and left out of the 4×16 team conference/playoff paradigm. Most Pitt fans probably feel differently about that and that Birddog piece hinges on NBC making a move to buy Big East TV rights and muscle their way into the BCS broadcasting conversation.

There are a lot of what-ifs at this point in college football history, and people tend to try to fill in the blanks with beneficial scenarios.

Comment by ChrisA 04.20.12 @ 3:23 am

Pitt will be more relevant in a more stable and higher profile conference. Outside BC’s one year with Flutie, it was never relevant in football. Pitt has been wandering in the desert for the last 3O years since Marino so its not a very relevant program right now, but hopefully Chryst will change that. Pitt basketball is very relevant right now and looks to have some good momentum heading into the ACC with recruits and a stable coaching situation and proven recent success. The ACC is the right academic, geographic and cultural fit…Pitt is still East Coast and that’s where most alumns live. If any Pitt fan, and I doubt Jeff is nothing more than a Hoopie troll, is worried about the change, I say have no fear and embrace it. Only a self loathing Pitt fan with confidence issues would want to stay in the Big Least.

Comment by TX Panther 04.20.12 @ 7:35 am

Big East did not see his coming because football is not what is important. As a huge Pitt football fan it stung the last time we couldn’t leave for the ACC and the Big East had no anwser then. No surprise they had no idea even after being told the year before what would happen. May they RIP because they are dead to me. The ACC is the total package for all sports. We will be strong in that league and I can’t wait to get there. HTP

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 04.20.12 @ 7:55 am

Hey Jeff, for your case-in-point example, why didn’t you use Va Tech?

They finished 3rd or 4th in the final 3 years in the BE but has been the dominant teams in the ACC since their arrival.

Comment by wbb 04.20.12 @ 9:17 am

Jeff, I’ll respond to wbb for you, “touche'”.

Comment by Dan 04.20.12 @ 9:33 am

All these arrogant Hoopies have been drinking Ollie’s Kool-Aid (and a lot of other nasty things I might add) ever since he was hired. They all have the mistaken belief that the Big 12 actually will embrace them and their couch burning antics as time goes on. They are all envious and furious that the ACC snubbed them due to their poor academic reputation and national black-eyed identity. I really like the position we are in now. It would be fantastic to win the BE football and basketball championships as we exit the front door and head to the ACC. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 04.20.12 @ 11:30 am

Ollie’s the wisest man he knows.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 04.20.12 @ 1:12 pm

If Ollie thinks so highly of WVU, why didn’t he send his son (QB Andrew Luck) to Morgantown? I’m sure a full ride was available.

Comment by giffer-in-Htown 04.20.12 @ 1:15 pm

Texas will screw the Big 12 in the end. Look for them to eventually jump (along with OU, OSU, Texas Tech/or Baylor) to the Pac whatever.
That will leave WVU scrambling again to find a home. I suspect that Louisville, Cincy, Houston, Memphis, and the like will join the new Big Ten to complete the newly renamed “Old Metro / Conference USA”. WVU just overpaid ($20M) for a conference that is on the verge of a bubble burst. Reminds me of the housing market.

Comment by PITT Fan in Atlanta 04.20.12 @ 2:49 pm

What is the issue here? It’s not like the Big 12 had great vision when Beebe was the commissioner. Heck their moves were just as reactionary as the Big East after the Big 10 and Pac 10 raided them then they also had members openly requesting membership in the Big 10 (Mizzou) and SEC (Texas A&M). They way I see it WVU/TCU/Pitt/Louisville were just consolation prizes. They wanted to keep their membership together and not these Big East rats looking to jump ship.

Comment by turnerjoy 04.20.12 @ 6:36 pm

Oh and as far as being a cultural fit for the ACC. Not happening. Pitt is more akin to Boston College a college program overshadowed by Pro sports in it’s own town. I a from Pittsburgh but have lived in North Carolina and now Atlanta. Not even close to the same sport culture.

Comment by turnerjoy 04.20.12 @ 6:42 pm

Lets tell the truth PITT will be great in the ACC
and we do fit there.
but WVU will fit well in the big 12 the big 12 football is a little better than the ACC
but the BBis better in ACC than in the big 12
the ACC is more stable and the travel is bad for WVU in the big 12.
but for at least the next 5 years WVU will have better football then us.
but our football will be better from top tp bottom than the big east.
but it is the travel in the big east and big 12 that is the problem
we love PITT so we want to put WVU down but asfar as football goes they are in a wonderful place except for the travel give them there do
i would not want to trade but they did ok.

Comment by Frankcan 04.20.12 @ 10:00 pm

No worries turnerjoy. Everything is fantastic. As far as cultural fit, don’t worry about that.
Will fit in just fine.

BC, Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia and Va Tech (who we’ve beaten 3 out of the last 4 and requested us to be their cross division rival), we’ll be fine.

Miami and Ga Tech. Two city schools, one an old rival from the Big East, one a rival from the 70’s and the days of Independents.

NC State, NC, and Clemson. Maybe cultural clash with these 3, but, we’ve played the former two quite a bit over the last 20 years.

link to

This article, for those that didn’t know, or don’t want to read right now, just came out this week……….

Pitt is 3rd among public universities and 5th overall in the country in the amount of federal research money received!!!!!

Yes, 3rd public, 5th overall, not a typo.

I think Duke and Wake Forest will like the academic standing.

Actually, all of those schools will like our academic standing.

So, don’t worry turnerjoy, academics, athletics, Pitt will fit in just fine, more than fine actually.

With coach Chryst and the football and recruiting rising, coach Dixon (10 years to tourney, BE champs, 30 win seasons) and his hoops team, (this year just a blip on the radar) coming back with a top 5 or 10 recruiting class including the #1 big man in the country, it’s all good.

To be honest, this is probably the best time in Pitt athletics since Dan Marino left!!!

And with our academic standing, it’s gonna be a beautiful thing.

So turnerjoy, calm your nerves, we’re in a better position than we have been in 30 years!!!!

Comment by Dan 04.20.12 @ 10:50 pm

You’re right Pitt fan in Atlanta. You can jump into bed with Texas, but make sure you know, you’ll be kicked to the curb eventually.

Even with the so called money sharing deal they made last year (smoke and mirrors), they are so independent and looking out for themselves, the other teams still cannot stand them, and they stayed with Texas because there was no where else to go.

Comment by Dan 04.20.12 @ 10:56 pm

BC actually did better in the ACC, at least at first.

Funny stat with them: Only once- in 1992 I believe – did BC win 5+ game in the Big East.
That’s it, despite having Temple and Rutgers to kick around every year.

I believe they managed to win 5+ ACC in each of their 1st 5 years. They played in 2 ACC title games.

Matt Ryan being their QB obviously helped, but BC’s decline had more to do when they fired their coach for going on a job interview than it did going to the ACC.

Comment by originalether 04.21.12 @ 9:15 am

Thankfully, Pitt sets the gold standard for athletic directors. Luck is a piker – he has had only had two head football coaches in the last 2 years, while Pitt has had 6. That is no mean feat – it takes real leadership and skill at the top to accomplish that.

Comment by PO'd Panther 04.21.12 @ 3:36 pm

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