MORGANTOWN - Late last October, when West Virginia struck an agreement to join the Big 12, athletic director Oliver Luck said he was pretty certain that the school would be required at some point to add sports. How many and what they might be, he said, was a question he wouldn't be able to answer until after he'd had a chance to more fully explore the league's bylaws.
Well, it's been five months and Luck still doesn't have much more of a grip on what will be required of the school than he did in the fall. Here's the thing, though: The Big 12 isn't sure what will be required, either.
It appears the school might only have to add one sport and it will have to be on the men's side. That has been the general consensus all along.
But the Big 12 bylaws are in such a mess that it's really hard to tell.
"I think the conference office is probably grateful to us because it's forcing them to take a look at their bylaws,'' Luck said. "I don't think they'd paid much attention to some of the things that are in there.''
Fractured might be a good word for the Big 12's current bylaws, although current itself is probably a misnomer. The most recent copy available on the league's website is there as a part of the 2010-11 conference handbook. It still includes Nebraska and Colorado as members.
OK, so that's not that big a deal. Let's face it, with the league having lost four members and added two in the last two years, making a new set of bylaws readily available probably isn't a high priority.
Consider a few other oddities, though, and the cause for confusion regarding WVU's need to add sports in order to comply is justified,
According to the bylaws, in addition to fulfilling the requirements for Division I FBS football membership (16 sports sponsored, including at least six for men and eight for women), Big 12 members must also sponsor six men's sports and six women's sports from a list the league created that includes sports being sponsored by 10 or more league members.
Forget for a moment that when the Big 12 lost Nebraska and Colorado and then Missouri and Texas A&M, the list of sports sponsored by 10 or more schools was rendered pretty much archaic. So that's one thing that has to be addressed.
But as for those lists, well, first off the women are OK. On the Big 12's list of nine sports from which six must be sponsored, West Virginia already sponsors seven - basketball, soccer, volleyball, cross country, tennis, indoor track and outdoor track. The other two on the women's list are softball and golf.
But the men's list of required sports lists only seven. WVU sponsors just three - football, basketball and baseball. The others on the list are cross country, indoor track, outdoor track and golf.
Now here's where it really gets fuzzy. West Virginia sponsors seven sports that are not on the Big 12's list of those that are required - wrestling, swimming and soccer for men; gymnastics, rowing and swimming for women; and co-ed rifle. It would be nice if the Big 12 could perhaps add a few of those sports on its list of those required and WVU wouldn't have to add three men's sports.