MORGANTOWN - At roughly the same time Oliver Luck was being formally introduced as West Virginia's new athletic director to a gathering of media and university officials and friends Monday afternoon, his new counterparts in the Big 12 seemed close to saving their conference.
But by no stretch of the imagination does that mean Luck, WVU and the Big East are off the hook where ramifications of conference expansion and back-room dealings are concerned. Things have already changed the landscape of college sports in the past week and more changes are sure to come.
And how Luck and WVU react and respond to those changes certainly present the biggest challenge to the school's new AD.
"I'm not sure I know where all of this is going to end up,'' Luck said Monday, 17 days before he officially takes over for the retiring Ed Pastilong on July 1. "I don't believe the Big Ten is done looking. I still think they'll cast an eye - I'm not sure which direction, south or west or east. But because of their business model, which is based on subscription revenue from cable - which is different than the business model for all the other conferences - I still think they're going to look around.
"I think all we can do is talk about it, be proactive, get as much information as we can and have a number of contingencies in place in case there is, in fact, a shake-up. I do believe, though, that at some point this will have an effect on the Big East and on the ACC and the SEC and those conferences that have been a little bit left out of major discussions.''
In the past week, Colorado has left the Big 12 for the Pac-10 and Nebraska jumped from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. Despite reports that perhaps as many as five more Big 12 teams were ready to join Colorado in the Pac-10, the Big 12 was feverishly working on a plan to keep the league together and it appears to have worked.
That doesn't mean, however, that more changes aren't imminent. From the perspective of West Virginia and the Big East, the Big Ten's potential further expansion could still deal another blow to the Big East.
But for the time being, all Luck, the university and the league can do is wait and try to stay a step ahead. Oh, and put as positive a spin on it as possible.
"I think our university has a tremendous opportunity,'' Luck said. "In times of uncertainty there are often times of opportunity. I think our location along the Eastern seaboard is a real plus. I think our Mountaineer traditions are a tremendous plus.
"I certainly think it's safe to say that we'd love to see the status quo continue. But like every other university, I think we need to be smart and strategic and try to figure out is X, Y and Z happen what are our alternatives.''