Luck, LeBlanc to explore options with men's soccer conference affiliation
Athletic Department has been working with architects on a master plan for Coliseum sports complex
Published: Friday, October 28, 2011
Updated: Friday, October 28, 2011 21:10
The move to the Big 12 Conference doesn't work perfectly for all of West Virginia's varsity sports.
The Big 12 does not offer men's soccer as one of its varsity sports, leaving the No. 18 WVU men's soccer team in need of new conference affiliation.
West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck is very the men's soccer program will find a conference and will continue its success.
"We've had a very successful men's soccer program, and I've committed to (head) coach (Marlon) LeBlanc that we'll absolutely be committed to having and retaining the high quality men's soccer program that we have," Luck said.
Marlon LeBlanc also made a statement Friday night.
"As far as the move to the Big 12 and its impact on men's soccer, that is something that we're looking toward what the best avenue for our program will be," LeBlanc said. "Our administration is already working toward solidifying our best options moving forward."
Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference are two possible conferences suitable for LeBlanc's team. Conference USA currently houses two Southeastern Conference men's soccer programs and one program from the Sun Belt Conference. Both conferences do not offer men's soccer either.
South Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida International all participate as soccer-only members.
Conference USA Assistant Commissioner Courtney Archer refused to say if the conference had been contacted by West Virginia, but does believe Conference USA could be an option for the Mountaineers.
"We do have the structure to put that process in motion," Archer said. "Conference USA currently houses three members that only participate in men's soccer."
Mid-American Conference officials made an official statement Friday afternoon, as well.
"Our conference policy regarding membership issues, whether it be men's soccer or any sport, is to keep those specific membership discussion's internal with our member institutions," said Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher.
- Luck said the Athletic Department has been working with architects for the past eight to nine months on a master plan for the Coliseum sports complex.
"It's not a shovel-ready project, but we realize we need to update a couple of those facilities soon," Luck said. "I think this will accelerate that a bit. "
Hawley Field, West Virginia's baseball stadium, holds just 1,500p eople and doesn't meet ADA requirements. To compare, the University of Texas baseball stadium, UFCU Disch-Falk Field, holds just less than 7,000.
- Luck would not rule out the addition of varsity sports to West Virginia, saying they will sit down with Big 12 officials to figure out what sports the University currently does not offer.
"We need to look at the finances of that and all the surrounding issues," Luck said. Then we will make decisions that are in the best interest of the University and the athletic department. But we're not at that point yet."
-The Big 12 Conference does not have a policy regarding beer sales in the stadium.
"It's one of the things going down the road that we will share with them, we will review it towards the end the academic year," Luck said.
- Neinas isn't concerned with the location of West Virginia or the travel concerns voiced about getting to Morgantown. A few officials with Big 12 schools voiced concerns about having to fly into Pittsburgh before driving more than an hour to get to campus.
"Let me say this, I think that's been blown out of proportion. You don't have to go to Pittsburgh," Neinas said. "You can land in Clarksburg which is less than 45 miles."
Neinas cited University of Colorado-Boulder being 45 minutes away from Denver International Airport as just one example of having to travel a distance to a campus in the past.