I think WVU would be a good addition....
I want to say first that I’m not agreeing with or disagreeing with anyone or any idea here. I’m just going to post my thoughts on the general subject…..
I’m not real sure why people are so concerned with academic reputation when it comes to what conference you’re in. After all, the only reason these conferences exist in the first place is for athletic purposes. There are such things as "academic conferences" such as in the case of the AAU so I don’t know why people wouldn’t be happy with those types of distinctions.
I have absolutely no idea what quality of school WVU is. You always hear talk of reputation and that’s mostly coming from the elitist snobs from the Big 10 and Pac 12, but it doesn’t seem there really exists a good way to give an accurate qualitative ranking to schools. So I’m not sure any of these reputations are valid whether they be good or bad. I keep hearing things that make me think WVU isn’t so great and other things that make me think they must be pretty good. A friend of mine made a comment the other day when we were discussing this and I think it’s probably valid, "that large state schools regardless of what state they are in are probably pretty good schools." A big state school seems to be the focus of the resources and the brightest minds the state has to offer. Unless someone is one of these elitists that thinks people from Alabama or West Virginia or wherever are just dumber than everyone else and so their state schools must also be inferior then it stands to reason that a person can receive a good education at big state schools.
So anyway, I would like to have WVU in the SEC. I think they bring some good things to the table. West Virginia may not be a large state, but neither is Arkansas or Nebraska or several other states. West Virginia is like some of these small states in that they bring a dedicated population within that state. So maybe you get 1 million fans watching from the state of West Virginia and that might seem small compared to a larger state, but a lot of those larger states aren’t watching college football. Missouri, for example, might not get 1 million viewers for a game despite the state’s larger size. Missouri fans aren’t that passionate. They don’t care as much as people from states where there are no major sports teams.
I think I should be realistic though in that the people making these decisions are not Athletic Directors or even TV executives, but university presidents. And university presidents tend to be pencil necks. They worry about academic reputation and a whole host of other things that don’t really matter when it comes to what conference you are in. I know from first hand experience working at a university that administrative officials tend not to be down to earth people. They make careers out of maintaining or creating "reputations."
If you want proof of that then just look at the NCAA handbook or in general how the NCAA operates. University presidents and other academic officials are the ones who make those rules, the ones who hold leadership positions within that organization, and the ones who run every aspect of that group. They don’t know the meaning of the word "practical" and they don’t care what you or I think unless we happen to be writing a big check…..
If the SEC presidents are as worried about adding to the academic standing of the conference as I think and as some outlets have stated then they will probably not add WVU. I love college sports, but I don’t usually love the people calling the shots.