The Mountaineers do not, however, play those top teams as frequently as they will beginning next season.
Van Zant was also quick to point out that support for the program is needed no matter who is coaching. Luck recently addressed a major issue when he allowed the program to award the full NCAA complement of 11.7 scholarships. Most years the Mountaineers have been limited to eight or nine.
There are also issues with Hawley Field, which pales in comparison to Big 12 venues in terms of seating, dugouts and a clubhouse. Hawley has no clubhouse.
"You're going to have success based on how well the school supports you,'' Van Zant said. "We've been in the Big East for 17 years and we've only had eight and a half scholarships. We've never been fully funded. You can go get a coach from wherever and they're just going to come from programs that have been fully funded that have success. But you're only as good as your support.
"Moving forward I think our school is going to make a commitment to baseball and we'll see what happens.''
It won't be with Van Zant, though.
One thing is certain. In order to compete in the Big 12, West Virginia will have to invest in many ways, beginning with a new coach. According to the most recent available figures, Van Zant was paid just under $89,000 for fiscal 2011. West Virginia certainly won't pay a new baseball coach anywhere close to the seven-figure salaries it allots football coach Dana Holgorsen and men's basketball coach Bob Huggins, but in order to attract top talent it likely will have to pay at least two or three times what Van Zant made.
There is also the issue of a home venue. Several entities have broached the idea of a new baseball stadium in Morgantown, but nothing has taken off. Luck admitted Saturday that the four Big 12 home series the team will play next season are likely to be relocated, perhaps to Appalachian Power Park.
But that's not a long-term solution. Sooner rather than later the school will have to fund in some part an alternative.
"We've looked and have had conversations with folks in Charleston and some of the other minor league parks in southern West Virginia," Luck said. "We haven't made any final decisions yet, but it's very likely we won't play those four series here in Morgantown.
"More than likely we'll be playing our nonconference games at Hawley. Those are folks that have been to Hawley in the past. But we think with our conference series we simply need a better ballpark, a nicer ballpark to play in."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.