For the second time in a few weeks, Kansas State president Kirk Schulz proudly welcomed a new member to the Big 12 today.
This time, he welcomes West Virginia, a university out of the Big East that has won two BCS bowl games and recently went to the Final Four.
“They immediately bring very competitive athletic programs to the conference,” said Schulz, who serves as the chair of the Big 12′s expansion committee. “They are consistently the top football program in the Big East. Under coach Bob Huggins they have been outstanding in men’s basketball, as well. They have been successful in other sports. They bring a lot to the table, immediately.”
Schulz also said West Virginia will be a nice academic fit with the Big 12.
The Mountaineers won’t, however, be an easy geographical fit for the Big 12. When the conference added TCU, it added a school from within its footprint. No matter where you are, it’s easy to get to Fort Worth for a game. But Morgantown, W. Va.? That’s a different story.
“It clearly is a concern,” Schulz said. “Part of the conversation we had was really focused around the additional travel time we would face with them in the conference, but at the same time we felt that the other positive attributes about West Virginia were more important than the travel considerations.
“… As a conference, we’re competing against the Pac-12 and the SEC. The only way to do that is to bring in the strongest programs that we can. That’s what we’ve done.”