The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors have voted unanimously to accept West Virginia University as a full conference member effective July 1, 2012. The Mountaineers will begin competing in the Big 12 beginning with the 2012-13 athletic season.
West Virginia is the second new member to join the Conference since it began in 1996 after the addition of TCU earlier this month, and follows the exodus of Pittsburgh and Syracuse out of the Big East .
"The Big 12 Presidents and Chancellors are excited to welcome another outstanding institution to the Conference," said Burns Hargis, Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors and President of Oklahoma State University. "The addition of West Virginia, while expanding the reach of the Big 12, brings an impressive institution with esteemed academics and a proud athletic tradition into the Conference. This is another step in building a strong foundation for the future of the Big 12."
"The Big 12 is a perfect fit for West Virginia University," said WVU President Dr. James P. Clements. "It is a strong conference that, like WVU, values quality academic and athletic programs, and has a great tradition of success. This is a very exciting time for WVU and Mountaineer nation. I am confident that the future of WVU athletics has never been more promising."
West Virginia University, located in Morgantown, sponsors 17 varsity sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming & diving and wrestling. Women's sports are basketball, cross country, gymnastics, rowing, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field and volleyball. The Mountaineers also boast a co-ed rifle squad. The Big 12 sponsors every sport the Mountaineers participate in except rifle and men's soccer.
"We are excited to add West Virginia to our exceptional lineup of Conference members," said Big 12 Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas. "They bring an excellent overall athletic program to the Big 12 and allow the league to expand into an area that boasts a passionate group of fans and alumni throughout its region."
Since its inception 15 years ago, the Big 12 has won 42 team national championships and 492 NCAA individual crowns. In addition, more than 3,700 student-athletes have earned All-America First Team accolades for their play on the field with more than 500 being recognized with Academic All-America honors.
Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia.
Missouri is conspicuously absent from that list.
WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY FACT SHEET
Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Enrollment: 29,617 (22,711 Undergraduates)
Colors: Old Gold and Blue
Chancellor: Dr. James P. Clements
Director of Athletics: Oliver Luck
CollegeFootballPoil.com's Dave Congrove said, "The Big East lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC earlier this year, and TCU, which had committed to leave the Mountain West for the Big East, opted to join the Big 12 instead. The losses of the Orange, Panthers and Mountaineers will have a profound effect on all sports for the Big East, long considered one of the strongest, if not the strongest, conferences for men's basketball."
The Big East may have some time to right the ship, though, as Syracuse and Pitt are not currently scheduled to make their transition until 2014.
As of this date, here is the way the 2012 conference landscape has changed:
ACC: No changes for 2012.
Big East: Loses West Virginia. No additions at this time.
Big Ten: No changes for 2012.
Big 12: Gains West Virginia and TCU. Loses Texas A&M.
CUSA: No changes for 2012 at this time.
Independent: No changes for 2012 at this time.
MAC: No changes for 2012 at this time.
Mountain West: Gains Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada. Loses TCU.
PAC-12: No changes for 2012 at this time.
SEC: Gains Texas A&M.
Sun Belt: No changes for 2012 at this time.
WAC: Loses Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada.
Additionally, four programs become full-fledged FBS members in 2013 - South Alabama will be a member of the Sun Belt Conference, Texas State will compete in the WAC along with Texas-San Antonio (UTSA), and Massachusetts will play in the MAC.