Saban might be in WVU corner, but will it help?
THE VIEWS from here:
If a better opportunity comes along for the school, hey, great. Until then, however, WVU officials are doing the best with what's in front of them.
A couple days ago, our Dave Hickman outlined the Big East's goals. Since then, Boise State, one of the mentioned targets, has expressed wariness. Ditto the league in regard to Boise. Navy, another target, has likewise expressed concern.
All is understandable. Schools are afraid of jumping to a league in which members can't commit. Members won't commit and jack up the exit fee because they might be paying the fee. Almost all hope to be paying the fee.
So all sit, awaiting the outcome of the Missouri-Big 12-SEC situation. Still.
One report from The Birmingham News said the Tigers still don't have the necessary votes from SEC presidents and chancellors. An insider told me, though, Vanderbilt is likely to switch its vote to provide the necessary majority.
Another interesting tidbit from the source is Alabama coach Nick Saban has been squarely in the corner of West Virginia, rather than Missouri. The Birmingham report said Alabama wants the SEC to look East and not risk losing its annual game with Tennessee.
But there are also the ties. Saban is from the Mountain State's Carolina, right outside of Fairmont. Sen. Joe Manchin is one of Saban's best friends. In a recent visit to Charleston, Saban spoke of the "unconditional love" he receives from West Virginians.
The problem is, SEC commissioner Mike Slive is known as a presidents' commissioner. The word of Saban, even though he's won two national titles, doesn't carry far with Slive.
As for Vanderbilt, word is officials there might vote for Missouri if the other option is WVU. It's where the academic reputations of the schools may come into play. In addition, Missouri can claim to control more television sets. (Apparently a comparison of the football and basketball programs - a win for WVU - and locale - another win for WVU - won't weigh as heavily.)
As for the Big 12, another potential landing spot for the Mountaineers, a call was placed to the league office on Thursday. Representative Bob Burda said interim commissioner Chuck Neinas is not accepting media interview opportunities, but hinted at what we all understand: The conference is in a holding pattern because of Missouri.
There's a shot WVU could move to the Big 12, but the league might stay at 10 schools for a spell. If Missouri is out, Louisville could be invited next. If the league moves to 12, though, the Mountaineers will almost certainly be invited.
All the sources, by the way, say WVU athletic director Oliver Luck has been very proactive. He's simply not receiving the hoped for responses from the other conferences.
It does, however, appear Connecticut isn't moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference any time soon. Ditto Rutgers.
Of course, many of the Big East problems - specifically the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh - could have been avoided after the ACC's first raid. Had the schools made exiting nearly impossible financially, perhaps it would be the Big 12, not the Big East, in crisis mode.
The league did not learn from its past.
Apparently, those in the Steel City do as well.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to keep on playing," Pitt AD Steve Pederson told USA Today. "Because everything is still new with all this, we don't know how scheduling will work out. I know fans here would like to keep it going."
Alex Hammond, WVU's former recruiting coordinator, has been promoted to director of football operations. Which leaves this question: Who will be the recruiting coordinator?
On Thursday, I reached Hammond and asked.
"I'll still have a hand in recruiting," Hammond said. "Ryan Dorchester, our recruiting [graduate assistant], will continue with it. He's been working closely with me."
Basically, Hammond's new role will be to handle much of the administrative tasks for head football coach Dana Holgorsen.
"I'll be his liaison in the areas of academics, compliance, recruiting, etc.," Hammond said. "I'll work with Oliver Luck, [compliance director] Keli Cunningham, [deputy AD] Mike Parsons and others.
"My job is to allow Dana to coach a championship team."
So there you have it.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.