According to official releases put forward by both the Big 12 and West Virginia University, the Big 12 Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the school as a full conference member starting July 1, 2012. West Virginia joins TCU, announced earlier this year as a new member.
"The Big 12 Presidents and Chancellors are excited to welcome another outstanding institution to the Conference," said Burns Hargis, Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors and President of Oklahoma State University. "The addition of West Virginia, while expanding the reach of the Big 12, brings an impressive institution with esteemed academics and a proud athletic tradition into the Conference. This is another step in building a strong foundation for the future of the Big 12."
"We are excited to add West Virginia to our exceptional lineup of Conference members," added Big 12 Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas. "They bring an excellent overall athletic program to the Big 12 and allow the league to expand into an area that boasts a passionate group of fans and alumni throughout its region." West Virginia was also excited about the announcement.
"The Big 12 is a perfect fit for West Virginia University," said WVU President Dr. James P. Clements. "It is a strong conference that, like WVU, values quality academic and athletic programs, and has a great tradition of success. This is a very exciting time for WVU and Mountaineer nation. I am confident that the future of WVU athletics has never been more promising."
According to the release, West Virginia University, located in Morgantown, sponsors 17 varsity sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming & diving and wrestling. Women's sports are basketball, cross country, gymnastics, rowing, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field and volleyball. The Mountaineers also boast a co-ed rifle squad. The Big 12 sponsors every sport the Mountaineers participate in except rifle and men's soccer.
From a football standpoint, the Mountaineers are one of four programs in the nation to post nine or more wins in each of the last six seasons. They've gone bowling nine consecutive times and 30 times overall. They boast the 12th best record in the nation since 2005 and hasn't finished lower than second in the Big East any year since 2002.
The basketball team has also been strong, winning at least 20 games in each of the last seven years and going to six NCAA Tournaments over that span, making the 2010 Final Four. That was one of two Final Fours in the program's history.
As for Missouri, any hope that the Tigers would stay were likely put to bed Thursday night, when the Southeastern Conference Web site ran a full welcome page for the Tigers joining former Big 12 ally Texas A&M. The conference has since come out and said the page was a mistake, but the sheer fact that it exists would seem to indicate that the Tigers to the SEC is a done deal. And the Big 12 press release didn't list Missouri among its expected members.
According to the Big 12 release, beginning with the 2012-2013 season, it is expected that the league will be comprised of 10 schools, with the conference footprint encompassing five states with more than 36 overall people.