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 ESPN.com. “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.