With the exhausting weekend filled with conference realignment talk, I expected that the first few days of this week would be a little bit slower. I thought that most of the other Big East schools would take their time reviewing potential options. Unexpectedly, a tweet heard 'round the world arose from CBSsports.com's National college football writer Brett McMurphy's Twitter account:
"@McMurphyCBS: Multiple Big East sources said they have been told by WVU officials that WVU rejected by ACC & SEC"
By now, all of the country has heard about the news and ESPN was covering the topic all day. No one, though, has come up with a real reason as to why the Mountaineers were turned down by both conferences. From what I've seen, there have been no definite reports that WVU ever applied to the SEC, so I will focus on the university's denied application to the ACC. Now, none of these possible reasons for the declination are facts - just theories floating around the internet.
The first reason for the ACC denying entry in to its conference could be the school's perceived reputation. All schools have their good and bad fans, so this isn't simply about ripping apart West Virginia. But the Mountaineers have had some classic moments - chief among them may havev been when former Pitt assistant Tom Herrion was struck by a quarter thrown from the crowd during a game in the Coliseum in 2010.
Actions like these are difficult to stomach ... especially when just about every college conference has commercials promoting sportsmanship and other good values.
A more likely reason the university was turned down by the ACC lies in their academics. With the additions of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC is soon to be made up of 14 universities. All 14 can be found inside the top 101 (North Carolina State and Florida State are tied with ten other universities at #101) of US News' National University Rankings It is outstanding for an entire conference to be that academically inclined. And another team in which the ACC is reportedly interested, Connecticut, is also in the top 100 as well. That would give the conference almost 20% of the top 100 national universities in the country. West Virginia? They're #164 on the list. While that's not a bad ranking when looking at the country as a whole, it is a big gap compared to all of the ACC's other members.
Tonight, the officials from the remaining Big East schools will hold a meeting to discuss their options and future allegiances. According to ESPN, a source said that "he did not expect any substantial decisions to be made at the meeting, but called it 'a chance to look each other in the eye and get a feel for who's in and who's out'."
The article also said that Villanova is very interested in joining as a football member. I do think that regardless of who else leaves the conference, adding the Wildcats would speak volumes about how the Big East views loyalty.
Regardless of rivalries and all of that, I do hope that WVU survives this conference realignment. Maybe the real reasons for their declination will be released and will better the university for the future. Until then, we can only speculate.