With all the lawsuits settled and West Virginia’s move to the Big 12 Conference complete, one varsity sport is still waiting to find out what conference it will be playing in next season.
Since the Big 12 doesn’t have men’s soccer, head coach Marlon LeBlanc and his team still do not know what league they will be getting to play in when the 2012 season comes around.
”We’ve not made any final decisions, but Marlon LeBlanc and I and our staff have been speaking on a daily basis, and it’s really an important program for us,” stated WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck. “We’re going to maintain a high level of competition for that program because they have been very successful, and they have been a great representative of our athletic department.”
During his conference call Tuesday morning, Luck stated the University had a few options it could go in for the men’s soccer team’s future conference affiliation.
”One of those (options) is an affiliation as Kentucky and South Carolina have with Conference USA,” Luck said. “We’re also having some discussions with the Mid-American Conference in terms of men’s soccer joining that conference.”
When asked about the conversations the conference has had with WVU, a MAC official told The Daily Athenaeum Tuesday that it “will not publicly discuss membership issues and will reserve those discussions internally.”
With the news of Conference USA’s future merger with the Mountain West Conference, both Luck and LeBlanc concurred that a move to the MAC would make things a tiny easier on West Virginia in terms of travelling, but stated they aren’t leaning toward either league as of now.
”Either conference could be a great opportunity for us,” LeBlanc said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for both conferences.
”Do I have a preference? No, not really. All I really want to do is make sure that we leave our program in the ideal possible scenario to keep moving forward and we think both conferences have the capability to offer us that.”
A third option that could happen for the Mountaineers next season could be to go independent. Currently, Alabama A&M is the only independent team in the nation, but LeBlanc stated that the independent route could also be an option for his team next year before making its way to a new league for the 2013 season.
”A lot of it just depends on finding the right balance for our RPI,” LeBlanc said. “The sacrifice of independent status would, of course, be giving up and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but I’d like for us to be in a situation where our body of work during the season is more indicative of whether we are deserving of a bid than having to earn the automatic bid by winning the league.”
Throughout every step of the way in trying to find West Virginia’s next conference, Luck has kept LeBlanc informed, and the athletic director stated Tuesday night that a lot of the final decision will come from what the seventh-year head coach feels will be the ideal fit for the program.
”The one thing that Oliver has been steadfast with has been his commitment to me and to this program and to our players,” LeBlanc said. “They’re committed and they want to find what is ideal for the program. Oliver has stated point blank, ‘Whatever you want to do, it’s up to you and we will support it.’
”Right now our biggest obstacle is just time.”
The University’s recent litigations with the Big East Conference has put the Mountaineers a tiny behind schedule though, LeBlanc admitted.
But, he said, regardless of how much time they might have, they are going to take their time, and figure out what is going to be ideal for the team and the program as a whole.
”If we wanted to make a move tomorrow, I think we could be in a conference tomorrow,” LeBlanc said. “The issue lies mostly in whether or not we can not just join a conference, it’s putting together a resume and a schedule that will ideal prepare us for having a shot at the NCAA tournament.
”But make no mistake about it: I’m not just about making the tournament. I’m about actually winning the tournament.”
- Morgan completes London run
- Soccer-Heartbreak for AFC Wimbledon as MK Dons snatch Cup win
- San Clemente stalls in So Cal Championship match
- Polish leaders want stiff penalties for hooligans
- Exactly Why An Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer Is Crucial
- Exceptional Ant Control Oakland
- Reuters Sports Schedule at 0600 GMT on Monday, September 23
- Sacred Heart claims third straight Division III girls state soccer championship
- Arsenal may try to extend Henry's loan from MLS
- Preparation the key for Qatar, Coach Autuori
Submited by sofia - Comment RSS 2.0 - leave a comment - trackback