WVU officially joins Big 12
Published: Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 08:07
After months of anticipation, it finally became official Sunday.
West Virginia University departed from the Big East Conference to join the Big 12 Conference.
Hundreds of Mountaineer athletes, coaches and guests gathered to celebrate the memorable day in institution history.
"It’s a great day to be a Mountaineer in Morgantown," said newly named Mountaineer Mascot Jonathan Kimble. "All the athletes and coaches have been excited for this for a long time. It’s going to be a great year."
In attendance were not only the athletes and coaches, but also WVU President James P. Clements, Athletic Director Oliver Luck and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
Luck was the first of the three to address the crowd and feels the Mountaineers are prepared both academically and athletically to contend in their new conference.
"We’re embarking on a big adventure, and we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it," Luck said. "I feel very comfortable that as we raise the bar for athletic programs at our University that we will be able to compete and compete very well."
President Clements didn’t take long at the podium to compliment Luck on his hard work to help guide the University in the difficult times of conference realignment in collegiate athletics.
"How about a round of applause for the best athletic director in the country," Clements said.
With athletics as the main determinant of the destination for universities around the country during realignment, Clements doesn’t feel the other side of the equation should be overlooked.
"We’re a partner in athletics, but we’re also a partner in academics," he said. "The Big 12 is thrilled to have us. They know we’re a wonderful fit… We will make the Big 12 very proud to have West Virginia as a member."
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who was named to his position in early May, is also new to the Big 12.
But, with stints in conferences such as the Big 10 and the Pac-12 as an athletic director, Bowlsby understands what it takes to compete at a high level and realizes the Mountaineers will have to make adjustments.
"We are very excited to have TCU and West Virginia joining this league. You’re joining a very rich heritage, and you bring your own rich heritage along with it," Bowlsby said.
"It isn’t going to be easy. You will find the competition in every sport, on every day, from top to bottom in the league, is first grade."