Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It was just hours ago that -- despite reports to the contrary -- West Virginia still had hope of abandoning their sinking Big East ship for a lifeboat on its way to the ACC or SEC. But it now looks like those hopes have been extinguished.
Citing "multiple sources" within the Big East, CBSSports.com senior writer Brett McMurphy has reported that WVU officials have told other members of the conference that both the ACC and SEC have "rejected" the Mountaineers' request to join their respective leagues.
Reports surfaced Sunday that West Virginia had "submitted paperwork" to the SEC in the wake of Pitt's and Syracuse's impending defection to the ACC. Though that official application has not yet been confirmed, no one doubts that the Mountaineers have been exploring their options--and judging by WVU's public statement that conspicuously failed to mention any kind of support for the Big East, were no doubt hoping those options included an invitation to one of the two expanding BCS leagues.
That the SEC would seem to be in need of an Eastern-oriented team to balance its conference opposite the Western addition of Texas A&M appeared to make them the more likely of the two to grant WVU admittance. But with both that door and the ACC's now apparently closed, WVU will have to look elsewhere. Unfortunately for them, the Charleston Gazette has reported that the "other realistic scenario" for WVU (besides the SEC) was to "remain in the reconfigured Big East."
If that league can pull off a successful merger with the leftover members of the Big 12 in the wake of that league's seemingly-inevitable dissolution, the Mountaineers may land on their feet. If not, the news reported by McMurphy today may be news that stings the Morgantown faithful for years to come.