And apparently the Big 12 is ready to do just that. Luck said the league will probably add wrestling, gymnastics and swimming to the list, which would bring WVU up to five out of six men's sports required and to nine women's sports, well above the required six.
But then again, go back to those bylaws. According to those, in order for a sport to be considered a championship event in the Big 12, six members must participate. But the league already seems to be violating that. Only three current Big 12 members have wrestling teams, yet the league has a championship tournament among Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State (Missouri was also involved). And in gymnastics, only Iowa State and Oklahoma are left (Missouri was a third), but there is a Big 12 gymnastics championship.
See how confusing it is?
That's one reason why the Big 12 isn't pressing West Virginia to become compliant with the bylaws regarding minimum sports. They're due for a vast overhaul and there's a good chance that when they're rewritten WVU will be close to being good to go. In fact, they might be rewritten with a nod to West Virginia's predicament.
In the end, though, Luck knows that he is probably going to have to add that one men's sport. It's likely to come from the Big 12's outdated list of cross country, indoor track, outdoor track and golf, although tennis is also an option (five current Big 12 members play men's tennis). He's appointed a committee within the athletic department to study the options and hopes to have a plan in place by the beginning of the coming school year and begin competing the following year.
The considerations are many, although Title IX might not be a significant one. No matter what sport is added, it will increase the number of scholarships that have to be doled out to men. The NCAA scholarship limits for golf and tennis are 4.5, while adding track or cross country (one, not both) would be about the same.
There is also infrastructure in place for any of the sports given that the school already sponsors women's track, cross country and tennis, although the condition of those venues and the cost of potential upgrades might be an issue. Golf would be off campus.
"But we'll also look at the history,'' Luck said. "We had men's track here for 85 years. We had golf here for probably 50 years. We had tennis here forever.''
Perhaps just as significantly, Luck said he wants to look at the available pool of West Virginia high school athletes. On a national scale, at least, the state is not a hotbed for developing athletes in any of those sports (or any sports at all, for that matter), but one might lend itself to recruiting more so than others. There is the element of being able to field a homegrown team as well as the cold, hard fact that a scholarship for an in-state student costs less than one for an import.
Just know that the Big 12 isn't pressing the issue, in part because it has some work to do of its own.
"They've basically told us, 'It's up to you. You should be working on it,' " Luck said of adding a sport or sports. "But it's not something we have to address as urgent.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.