So was West Virginia rejected by both the SEC and the ACC today or what?
Earlier today, CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy tweeted that West Virginia University was turned down not only by the SEC but also the ACC.
"Multiple Big East sources said they have been told by WVU officials that WVU rejected by ACC & SEC"
Or were they? Later today, West Virginia Illustrated reported that the rumor that the Mountaineers were rejected by both conferences weren't all that accurate.
UPDATE: A WVU official told WVi the report about West Virginia University being rejected by the SEC and ACC is an "outright lie."
So were they? Or weren't they? Just another turn in this bizarre turn of events over the past few days.
Either way, it wouldn't be a shocker if the ACC said "thanks but no thanks" to West Virginia with some clear reservations about the school's academic reputation. Cardiac Hill notes that West Virginia would lag behind all other ACC schools academically. The ACC made a very calculated and surgical strike with the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, both which add value to the conference's academic profile. While adding just one school that may lag behind the rest of the conference in terms of academics doesn't seem like a big deal, the University Presidents have signaled that this is very important on their list of expansion criteria.
The other, and I believe more rationale, line of thought here is that the ACC is simply not in a rush to balloon its ranks to 16 member schools. As I have said repeatedly, the ACC is operating from an extreme position of strength at the moment and doesn't need to aggressively target new schools at the moment. As quickly as the additions of Syracuse and Pitt were, there were very calculated moves that have been planned for possibly more than a year. The ACC can afford to sit back now and again survey the landscape, wait for the Big 12 and Big East to either stabilize or fall apart, all while keeping two seats at the table warm for universities that will provide more long-term value than Rutgers and Connecticut.
The other thing to keep in mind is that I remain skeptical that the 4x16 superconference model is the end-game here. Note that there are currently 68 schools in BCS AQ conferences (12+10+12+12+12+8+Notre Dame+TCU next year). There are only 64 seats at the table in the 4x16 superconference format. My assumption is that no current member of a BCS conference will lose access to the BCS, as the rest of the BCS would open themselves up to litigation by schools that are left behind.
The much more likely end game is a five BCS AQ conference model -- the Pac-16, ACC (14), SEC (14), Big Ten (12) and a merger of the Big 12 and Big East (12). Until Notre Dame decides to move its football to a current conference, no conference, with the exception of the Pac-12 and possibly the SEC, will balloon to 16, leaving the possibility that the Irish would move its football program to one of the five super conferences.
As always, stay tuned.