West Virginia thought it was headed to the Big 12 Conference. So did many of us outside the Mountain State.
But this is the Big 12, where what goes up must come down, spinning wheel got to go round.
And this is America, where United States senators never miss a chance to try to curry favor with voters. This story
by Pete Thamel of the New York Times informs us a pair of members of the Senate are battling on behalf of their constituents, at least those who want their schools to escape the Big East in exchange for a spot in the Big 12.
Thamel wrote that Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville graduate, has lobbied University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance to consider adding Louisville to their league instead of, say, West Virginia. Boren is a former U.S. Senator. Hance once served in the House of Representatives. You never hear of an ex-congressman or senator who becomes a fry cook or dry cleaner, do you?
So, as soon as he heard Louisville had some skin in the Big 12 game, here came one of West Virginia’s senators with a counter. This is precious: “If a United States senator has done anything inappropriate or unethical to interfere with a decision that the Big 12 had already made, then I believe that there should be an investigation in the U.S. Senate, and I will fight to get the truth,” Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, said in a statement. “West Virginians and the American people deserve to know exactly what is going on and whether politics is interfering with our college sports.”
West Virginia’s other senator, Jay Rockefeller, threw his two cents in to agree with Manchin.
But you want precious? How about this passage from Thamel’s story: Hance said he understood that West Virginia offered greater television appeal than Louisville, but said that Texas Tech was concerned about travel difficulties. “The opposition to West Virginia had to do with the distance,” he said. He added, “All this TV stuff is important, but it’s not as important as the student-athlete.”
Hahahahahahaha. Sure, the distance is the problem. Morgantown, W. Va., is a whopping 1,463 miles from Lubbock, Texas, while Louisville is a mere 1,110 miles from Lubbock.