Adventures in Conference Realignment with Oliver Luck

Last Updated on February 3, 2023

This episode I’m joined by Oliver Luck, former WVU football student athlete, NFL player, NCAA administrator…and perhaps most important to this conversation, the former WVU athletic director who guided the Mountaineers through the last round of conference realignment. 

While Luck considered it an honor to be the athletic director at his alma mater, he was faced with challenges during his tenure. Not the least of those was Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving the Big East in 2011, which necessitated a move for WVU. 

Luck chats about his career, the history of conference realignment, the challenges that an athletic director faces and the impact that television and other schools have in the realignment process.  

In this episode we discussed: 

  • How Luck found out the Big East was in trouble
  • Luck’s first actions once he realized WVU needed to find a new conference and which conferences he called first
  • The challenges realignment brings for an athletic director 
  • The tight knit circle that an athletic director has when making decisions about realignment 
  • The different factors that a school considers when weighing the options of realignment
  • How schools can salvage old rivalries even when changing conferences 
  • The lawlessness of conference realignment 
  • The amount of stress involved for an athletic director during realignment

If you’ve ever wanted a peek behind the curtain of conference realignment, you’ve come to the right place! Strap in and learn all about what it was like to guide WVU through the last round of realignment.

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Abridged Transcript

We’ve edited the full transcript below to focus on the highlights from the podcast.

Kristi Dosh 

I thought it would be fun for people to get a little bit of an inside look as to what it’s actually like being at a university when this is happening because you were at West Virginia when we had this last round of conference realignment almost exactly 10 years ago.

I remembered that the whole process seemed to take about two years from that first domino falling until everything kind of settled out, so I went back this morning, and I was looking at a timeline to kind of refresh my memory because I couldn’t even remember like exactly what started I knew that Colorado and Nebraska were right at the beginning, but I was trying to remember which one came first, and luckily, there’s all sorts of timelines available online.

So I was able to go back and find that, and so my first question to you, Is that something where you were like the rest of us and you didn’t know that there was going to be conference realignment until we got news of Nebraska and Colorado or were there rumblings you heard sort of before the fans found out about it?

Oliver Luck 

The short answer is I think almost every AD (Athletic Director) and college president for that matter was aware of the chance of realignment, but nobody knew the specifics. Everybody kind of realized there was an unsettled atmosphere at that point in college athletics, but I’m not sure anybody had a beat on exactly the steps that would be taken.

In my case, it was somewhat interesting. I had served on the board of governors of my alma mater West Virginia University. I was appointed by the Governor of the State, who at that point was Joe Manchin, who’s now arguably the most powerful senator in Congress, and from being on the Board of Governors, we talked a lot at the board level about the potential for some sort of realignment because the Big East was a tweener conference. It was what one could call an automatic qualifying conference for the BCS bowl games, but it also had a lot of basketball-only schools that didn’t play football, so it was a hybrid, quite honestly.

People forget about the three schools that left in 2000-2001 so the Big East had already been decimated if you will with the departure of those schools, and we added Louisville at the time, South Florida, maybe somebody else to replace the three that left.

I was aware that realignment was something that was going on because keep in mind Penn State had joined the the Big Ten to make it 11. You mentioned Colorado and Nebraska, so there was a lot of discussion there. Utah had sort of moved up from the Mountain West or the WAC and found a slot in the Big 12.

How Luck found out about Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving the Big East

Luck continues

So there was enough going on that going into that job I said to myself the biggest challenge I’ll have is realignment. Usually, it’s a new football coach or a new basketball coach or a new facility that you got to raise $100 million for, but I assumed that my biggest challenge was going to be realignment at some point, and it happened about a year into my becoming the athletic director in Morgantown.

I’ll never forget, I was driving with my wife from Morgantown to College Park, Maryland. It was the opening game of that season or maybe the second game of that season, and I got the news that Pittsburgh and Syracuse had left the Big East. Obviously, both good football and very good basketball schools, and I thought to myself, “Wow, there’s gonna be a challenging time here, here we go, the carousel is starting to move.”

Kristi Dosh

As a member of the conference, when another member leaves what does that look like? Who’s calling to tell you that, and do you know before it breaks on ESPN or whatever outlet or are you finding out at the same time that fans are finding out?

Oliver Luck

I may have had a heads up of 30 minutes or 60 minutes or something, but I pretty much found out at the same time it became public. I’ll give both the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse a lot of credit, they kept quiet. As we know from Texas and Oklahoma, it’s a very difficult thing to keep quiet because we got a lot of various constituencies–everybody wants to be in the know, and the more people that are in the know, the harder it is to keep it quiet. I was given a little bit of a heads up, but not much.

In fact, I remember my deputy AD was the one who had called me and said, “Hey, I just heard that Pitt and Syracuse are leaving.” And I said, “Mike, I’m maybe an hour and a half, two hours out from the stadium from College Park where we were playing the terps.” I said, “Find the commissioner because I knew he was going to be at that game, a gentleman named John Marinatto, who recently passed away. I said, Find John, and put us in an empty suite. I’ve got to talk to John to see what the heck’s going on.

Next steps after learning about Pittsburgh and Syracuse

Kristi Dosh

When you get that news, who’s the first person you call? But that sounds like a convenient situation that it just so happened the commissioner was going to be there at your game, and that you could have that time to meet immediately.

Oliver Luck

So we we convened (John and I) in an empty suite at the Maryland stadium, and John was sitting on a high back chair. It was 11 a.m. or something, and all of a sudden, John’s phone rang, and I could hear the other person saying so and so passed away, and John fainted and fell on a stool and literally fell down to the ground and I thought, Oh my gosh, I’ve been a year into this job, our conference is falling apart, and the commissioner Dave Gavitt had passed away and so that hit John, like a ton of bricks. He was already completely stressed out.

Yeah, it was really a very difficult day, but I said to John, “What are we going to do?” And I don’t recall, quite honestly what our discussion was about, but I guess what I was saying to myself was, “I know that this conference isn’t going to make it.” We were down to six football schools, you can’t have a season with only you know, six members.

But it was clear to me that we would have to make a some kind of a valiant effort to figure out where we may be able to find a home because I’m sure the podcast knows your constant conference affiliation is of critical importance, it’s existential, and this was really for West Virginia University, I viewed it as an existential threat to the school. I’ve been in a number of different conferences, we were independent for many years, but given the high stakes this was clearly an existential threat. That’s at least the way I viewed it.

Knowing the Big East was no longer the right conference home

Kristi Dosh

So did you know right away that you needed to be looking for options and other conferences or was there still a thought that the Big East could be saved and that other football schools could be added to save it?

Oliver Luck

I think because of the addition of Louisville, South Florida, I guess Cincinnati was the third school that we added after Tech (Virginia Tech) and Miami and BC left. I looked around and said, “We just lost two more. I don’t think we can add two more that are quite honestly at a high enough level to keep us in.”

People weren’t saying this at the time, but to keep us in a so-called “Power Five Conference” or “Power Six Conference.” There just wasn’t the quality of schools that we needed, and it wasn’t just getting from six to eight, eight was a bare minimum to begin with.

You only have seven conference games, and you’ve got to schedule a whole bunch of non-conference games so ultimately, I think the Big East remaining schools realize they would have to go up to 12 or to 14 (conference teams), and that became the American Athletic Conference, and they built it back up to be a pretty strong league, but to me it was pretty clear we would have to exhaust every avenue to figure out if there is another home, and whether it’s the Big Ten and we were neighboring states with two Big Ten schools like Penn State, and Ohio State. Is it the SEC? We’re neighboring Kentucky. Is is the ACC? Lots of neighboring states there as well.

So, those are the three options. I sort of dismissed– my president and I, Jim Clements, who is now at Clemson University–Jim and I dismissed the Pac-12 possibility just given the geography. We thought, let’s go investigate these three other conferences.

Fortunately, West Virginia not only had a pretty positive history, in terms of quality athletics, but we’re also in that in sort of that sweet spot where we’re sort of the northernmost southern state and the southernmost northern state, and we’re on the western side of the Appalachian. So we’re a little bit more Midwestern, but you know, we also have a long history with a lot of schools that were in the ACC. So we had a pretty beneficial location that allowed us to at least investigate some of the opportunities that may exist in those three other conferences.

Conversations with conference peers

Kristi Dosh

What can you tell us about what the conversations look like with your conference peers? Were there other schools in the Big East football schools who were looking for new homes at the same time? How much are you all commiserating with each other versus seeing each other maybe as competition? So what does that kind of look like behind the scenes in terms of how you sort of communicate and move on together?

Oliver Luck

Yeah, it’s a sort of difficult dance, and it’s more than problematic because with the Big East, we wanted to see our conference mates succeed, but at the end of the day, you don’t really know if there’s two schools and only one spot available, and you might be fighting your former conference ally for that one spot. So I think it’s difficult to sort of process your loyalty to the conference, and at the same time, my responsibility was to do the best thing for West Virginia University. So, that sort of drove our thinking.

I think that boils down to the sort of the decision that my president Jim Clements and I both made along with our board chairs. This (The Big East) was going to be difficult to reconstruct, and that first order of business was to try to find a new home, and we did that relatively quickly by filing a lawsuit against the Big East.  

We filed it and I think every judge in that court went to WVU law school and was an undergraduate at WVU. So we were pretty aggressive about letting everybody else know, “Okay, we were going to try to get out, and we think if we can get out in the appropriate sort of time limits that we will have a chance at it in a spot in another conference.” So I think we were pretty clear that we didn’t think the conference would stick together.

Who got involved in conference realignment at WVU?

Kristi Dosh

I’m sure this differs from school to school, but how involved is the President or the Board of Governors in these sort of decisions? Are you constantly meeting with them throughout this and talking about options or is it left more up to you? What does that kind of look like behind the scenes?

Oliver Luck

Well, I can only speak to my experience but our president was actively involved. He was relatively new to the position at WVU, he had been the provost at Towson which is part of the University of Maryland system, so he was well versed with a lot of those Mid-Atlantic schools and had lots of contacts.

So he and I spoke, arguably, two or three times a day, just to make sure that we were aligned with what we were saying. I think he communicated a good bit with the Board of Governors members at that level, and there was even discussion not necessarily on a daily basis, but we wanted to make sure that people like Joe Manchin, who at that point was the Junior Senator from West Virginia and Jay Rockefeller was the Senior Senator, we want to make sure those folks realize the importance of this issue, and that it was an existential threat to the university.

And we have to keep in mind, West Virginia is a small state, fewer than 2 million people live in the state, there aren’t professional teams in the state. So when West Virginia University plays on the Saturday afternoon or a big Monday basketball game, that’s kind of like the protein for the state. People cared about it, and have you not been able to sort of maintain status in a power conference, if we weren’t able to do that it was a real blow economically for North Central West Virginia where Morgantown is located.

I think sort of spiritually for a flagship institution not to be a part of big games against Alabama or Penn State or Florida or whatever, that would have been a gut punch to the state, and not just to the university.

Kristi Dosh 

What conference was West Virginia in when you were a student athlete?

Oliver Luck

We were independent back then, and I think you could go almost to the llate 70s..early 80s, when I was in school, you could probably go back to that point, and identify sort of one of the things that didn’t happen and what didn’t happen is that Penn State didn’t want to join an Eastern conference for whatever reason, but you had so many eyeballs along the East Coast.

Every year we played Syracuse, we played Boston College, we played Penn State, we played Maryland, we played Virginia Tech. I mean those are all schools that were all playing each other.

That was basically the schedule that lined up and there was no conference, everybody was technically independent. Had Penn State said, “Hey guys, let’s formalize these relationships and create a conference of eight, maybe 10 teams, maybe add Temple.” You know, Rutgers was in there, we all played Rutgers. I mean, we were all literally playing the same schools.

Most of us played UConn, so had that materialized, it could have been a different story. But it didn’t. For whatever reason Penn State didn’t want to join, and so that left the East Coast kind of splintered, and it’s a shock because there’s so many eyeballs along the East Coast.

You ask Tex Schramm why the Dallas Cowboys when they were founded wanted to join the NFC East, and he will tell you that there were eyeballs because it had New York, Philadelphia and Washington. Why wouldn’t Dallas want to join to become America’s team? That was sort of the theory that Tex had and it was absolutely spot on. I think you can go back to the sort of late 70s, early 80s, and the lack of desire that Penn State had to join that conference and kind of be that that was at the start of the modern era of realignment.

How traditional rivalries and nostalgia factor into decisions

Kristi Dosh

As we were talking, I was just kind of thinking, you’re coming from this unique perspective of having been a football player at West Virginia, and then coming back and being the athletic director.

So much of what we hear around conference realignment from fans is around the loss of partners they’re used to playing every year within their conference and some of those natural rivalries that happen within a conference, and I was just sort of curious how you think about those things as an AD. As you’re thinking about which conference makes sense and sort of the ties, you’re inevitably going to lose, as you change conferences, how does that sort of emotional, nostalgic side come into play when you’re going through this process?

Oliver Luck

Well, I think there’s probably a good bit of nostalgia and trying to recreate the past when it comes to scheduling, and there’s other factors involved as well. Obviously, everybody wants to have seven home games, everybody can’t have seven home games, the math doesn’t work.

There’s money games that exist, there’s state pressure in many cases to play an in-state school that might not be at the level that your school is at. So there’s lots of factors. In our case, when we ended up in the Big 12, I remember distinctly saying to myself, “Well, we’ve got to at least start the process because people have scheduled games out 10 years in advance or whatever, so we’ve got to at least start the process to get some of those old rivalries back on board.” And those old rivalries in my mind, certainly Pittsburgh, that was the big rival, you know, the “Backyard Brawl,” and that was a lot of fun and some great games.

Luck continues:

Penn State and Virginia Tech, which we ended up doing a neutral site game. I scheduled a neutral site game against Virginia Tech, in D.C. and then we wanted to try to get Virginia on the schedule as well. I was unsuccessful, I’m not sure if my successor, Shane Lyons, great guy, smart guy. I don’t know if Shane was able to put UVA on the schedule, but all those schools that we had historically played, and you can’t play them all in one year because obviously, going into the Big 12 we’d be playing Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, State, Baylor. I mean some pretty solid teams.

So you have to also be smart, and give your program and your coach a chance to win some games and not get beat up by week seven or eight of the season. But those rivalries that are local, that people can jump in the car and drive an hour and a half are fun.

So I think every AD put in that position would say, “Let’s be smart, let’s be prudent, let’s be judicious, but let’s figure out how to get some of those games over the next 10-15 years back on the schedule.” And of course, it takes two to tango. You could call a school up and say, “Hey, let’s play.” But you know, you can’t find a window, you can’t find the date, TV may have an issue, and so there’s lots of other factors as well, but it was very important in my mind to try to get some of those old rivals back in the schedule.

Luck’s strategy in reaching out to other conferences

Kristi Dosh

As an athletic director, once you’ve identified, say one or more conferences that would make sense for you, what do those early conversations with the conference look like? Are you talking to the conference commissioner? How do those conversations sort of begin and what types of things are you talking about as you both figure out whether this is a good fit or not?

Oliver Luck

Sure, it’s a great question. So how does it really work? I can share my experience with this going back in the fall of 2011 and into early 2012, and you know as I mentioned earlier, we had theoretically three conferences that we’d want to check the boxes and is there any opportunity here?

The first thing I did and this is all obviously in consultation with my boss, the university president. I jumped in a plane to Chicago to talk to Jim Delaney, the Big Ten Commissioner, and I said, “Commissioner Delaney, don’t tell me what you think I might want to hear, I need some of the hard truth. Do we have any opportunity at all to get into the Big Ten”? And Jim said “No.” I said, “Thank you.” I’m not going to debate the point or argue it or whatever it is, this is not a sales call, but that eliminated that opportunity so we said, “Fine, that’s not going to happen. Let’s not waste any time on that.” Because you have limited minutes of the day, hours of the day, etc.

We did something similar at that point, with the ACC.  As I mentioned, my president was very familiar with a lot of the ACC presidents from his time at the University of Maryland system. So I said, “Jim, why don’t you call the Presidents, get four or five of them. I’ll call four or five of the AD’s that I know in that conference, and I’ll let him reconnect and see if there’s any opportunity.” I said the same thing, “Don’t tell me what you think I might want to hear,  I just need to operate in the realm of the possible, and if it’s not possible that we’re an ACC, contender then let me know, it just not going to hurt my feelings, I’m not going to get upset.”

And the response from those folks that we canvassed in the ACC was we probably didn’t have a chance. That’s what my president was hearing from his colleagues. That’s what I was hearing from my athletic director colleagues, and I thanked them, didn’t put up a fight because we needed to then figure out this is going to be a play for the Big 12, and then we began to harness whatever resources that we had at West Virginia.

I’ll give you an example. One of our very successful alums is a gentleman named Ken Kendrick, who owns the Arizona Diamondbacks, and guess who was the chairman of the Baylor board? The Baylor Board Chairman was Drayton McLane who owned at that point the Houston Astros, and I called up Ken and Ken would do anything to help his alma mater. I said, “Ken, would you mind giving Drayton a call and just seeing you know what the interest level may be?”

So, we tried to sort of connect with as many people as we possibly could through West Virginia alumni, through Don Nehlen our former coach. hall-of-famer. Chuck Neinas, at that point was the interim Commissioner of the Big 12, so anybody that had a viable opportunity, connection, etc, we put to work.

At the end of the day, it was a group effort. I felt a little bit like an orchestra conductor, making sure that everybody was sort of in tune and aligned. Jim felt the same way, and here’s the reason I think, Kristi, is that there are no rules of conference realignment, it’s sort of like a kids game where you just decide to run around and play whoever has the ball you tackle.

There are no real rules in conference realignment

Kristi Dosh

Even my husband who’s not a lawyer, as soon as conference realignment comes up, he always yells out “tortious interference,” because that claim is gonna come from somewhere.

Oliver Luck

That’s right. So there are no rules, and we were respectful, I think upfront and transparent, certainly with what we’re trying to do. As I mentioned earlier, we had told the biggies “We’re out!” That wasn’t a secret. Our former colleagues in that conference knew that whether it was Louisville, but of course, as soon as Maryland joined the Big Ten, that opened up a spot in the ACC which Louisville filled and then of course, the Big Ten also reached out to Rutgers, I don’t think because of the strength of their athletic program, but New Jersey had a lot of cable households, and that’s one of the metrics that Commissioner Delaney had at that time.

So there are no rules, and that’s one of the things that I remember I had to sort of keep in mind as we were going through this process because ultimately the end game was for my institution I had a responsibility to be able to get accepted into a conference, and then the final straw I guess if you remember Missouri was sort of sitting on the fence.

They (Missouri) were sitting on the fence it seemed like for months when this was going on, and finally they made a decision to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

That put the Big 12 in a position where they’d added TCU already, but they needed a 10th member. I think it was part of their bylaws at that point, they needed a 10th member. So that decision then came very quickly I think in like December of 2011 or maybe early January, I can’t remember the exact timing.

Positioning your school for conference realignment

Kristi Dosh

So probably all that networking you did, and all the folks that you were talking to, then once Missouri left, and they knew they needed to add someone else you’d already sort of laid the groundwork to put West Virginia in a good position to be that school.

Oliver Luck

Yeah, I think that’s accurate, and keep in mind there’s no secrets. Everybody knows the strength of a program over the years. So, we publicize all the good things that we believe are a part of the West Virginia University athletic culture, but everybody knows that information. There’s no secrets.

I mean, all these schools played against us over the years. We won some games, lost some games, so it’s nothing that you uncover, but it’s just I think being smart about sort of how you’re working the room if you will. And again, there’s no rules, you just have to use your best judgment, communicate with a very limited group of people that’s probably your university president and board chair, and you don’t want to spread that circle too far because rumors can be dangerous and can come back to haunt you a little but it’s just using your gut really to figure out how to maneuver through a pretty challenging universe.

It was full of probably three or four months of very high anxiety where my president was under enormous pressure and you walked to a football game and 1000 people say, “Hey, where are we gonna be next year, and what conference can we go to”? But there is no answer at that point. So once that all got resolved, it was the big lift of anxiety from everybody at the university.

What role does TV play in conference realignment

Kristi Dosh

I mean, there are obviously a number of different factors that go into the decision to invite a new member to a conference. Looking at those though, it’s kind of a generalization, but how heavy of a factor is TV? Is it the factor all the time? Is it 50%? What is the sort of the weight of TV?

Oliver Luck

Yeah, it’s a great question. I’m not really sure I’m able to answer that. Again, my experience was limited to this one instance with WVU over the course of three or four months, and I don’t remember having any conversations with any broadcast partners or streaming partners that really were just coming out of the startblox. Back in 2011/2012, streaming wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is now of course. So obviously television broadcasters, their involvement is critical to the ecosystem that we’ve built with college athletics, but I really don’t recall any conversations with broadcasters. Now, that doesn’t mean they weren’t involved, but I just don’t recall reaching out to them.

Once we realized the Big 12 could be a possibility, we spent a lot of time looking at travel costs, and we’re taking in the last five or 10 years of our Big East schedule, and then comparing that to what it would be for football and men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, all those things.

So we wanted to make sure we had a pretty clear picture of both the positives and the negatives, and I’ll tell you in West Virginia University’s land grant institution, a lot of Big 12 schools are land grant institutions that go back to the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln signing the Land Grant Bill in schools like Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Iowa State, they’re very much like West Virginia–same kind of setup, same kind of structure, heavy engineering, heavy agricultural program.

We actually felt like wow, this if this works, these are like-minded institutions. That wasn’t necessarily the case in the Big East just because you had a lot of the smaller Catholic schools. So, as we looked at this we actually said to ourselves, this might be a conference where we’re very much like our competitors, so that was a really pleasant surprise. And I would argue the last 10 years now in the Big 12, West Virginia has enjoyed great relationships with these other schools because quite honestly it’s like looking in the mirror.

Perception of WVU

Kristi Dosh

As I think through sort of the TV aspect of it, a lot of what I remember hearing back then and what I remember reporting back then was about this school brings this market or this school brings these eyeballs, it was all about TV markets, and who was best positioned in that sense. Is that something that came up when you talked to the Big Ten, or the ACC? Was West Virginia wasn’t a sort of TV market that they were looking for?

Oliver Luck

Well this is before I believe was just as maybe before the Big Ten network was getting put together by Delaney, and it’s been a great network to that conference. I don’t think the ACC had even thought about a network at that point. Most of the broadcasts were regional broadcasts so I guess because of the location of Morgantown, we brought a different time zone number one (Eastern), and a little bit of a legacy in the so that that may have been viewed as a positive. I don’t quite honestly recall any of those conversations, it seemed as though what the Big 12 needed certainly after Missouri left, they needed a program that has historically been solid, played a lot of games, won some big games, was involved with high quality football. It seemed as though that factor was by far the most important certainly for the Big 12, and its decision to invite West Virginia.

Advice to ADs going through conference realignment

Kristi Dosh

I’m sure this is a really stressful thing to be involved in. If you’re either in a school that’s thinking about leaving or you’re in a school that feels like you’ve been left behind by a partner, what’s your advice to athletic directors about how to take care of their own mental health through this process and how to navigate this?

Oliver Luck

Yeah, it is a stressful period because it’s arguably the most important thing that an athletic director does, and many athletic directors never have to deal with the realignment right? But if you are dealing with it, there’s no question that’s stressful.

I would argue that you need to play more offense and defense depending on your circumstance in that offense might look differently, but you need to play more offense than defense. In my case really for about three months, this was during the 2011 football season, I really didn’t speak to the press. I kind of went silent if you will, and because as soon as you start talking to the press, it’s difficult to whatever, Genie gets out of the bottles, to put that genie back, and everybody’s writing so much, and this is 10 years ago. Obviously, social media was a thing back then, but even more so today. So I think the best thing that any AD can do who’s in this position is  to work as hard as you possibly can, make every effort you possibly can, but keep a very, very tight circle of people that you can find. And then in my case, it was really the university president and then our board chair.

Kristi Dosh 

We should probably invite your wife on and have her advice to the wives. I can’t imagine being the wife of an athletic director going through this stress. We all see our spouse and go through at work. I imagine. This is a big one. So tell your wife, thank you for your service.

Oliver Luck 

Well she was incredibly supportive. So yeah, and every spouse, I think of AD the same is true of university presidents. And boy, you don’t want bad stuff to happen on your watch. And this could be bad in our case,we ended up I think in a better spot certainly at least for the last 10 years, we’ll see what happens with the Big 12 going forward. It is challenging. I’m one of those guys, when I get stressed, I work out. After three or four months, I was probably in the best shape of my life just because that’s the way that I sort of tried to reduce my stress level.

Kristi Dosh

Yeah, I do stress shopping. So yours is probably better, it doesn’t affect your bank account like mine. Thank you for joining us and giving us a little peek behind the curtain. I know I covered this as a journalist it was really as I was leaving practicing law and going into journalism full time. and quite frankly, conference realignment probably gave me the boost that got me my full time job at ESPN back then, so I’m sure I should be thankful for conference realignment.

I just remember trying to work full days as an attorney and report on conference realignment at the same time, and the toll that took so I wasn’t anxious to see it start up all over again, but as somebody who covered it with what I was able to get my hands on as a journalist who wasn’t a beat reporter for any of the schools involved, and so I wasn’t getting a lot of, you know, firsthand accounts of what was going on, I was looking more at sort of the finances and the impact on the other side, so I know this was really interesting to me to to kind of hear what it’s like to be on the school side as this is happening. So thank you for sharing it with our audience.

Oliver Luck

Well, my pleasure. It’s fun to think back now on it, and I had a little bit of sort of PTSD when I saw the news about Texas, Oklahoma, And we’ll we’ll have to see how it all plays out,  but it is stressful and I really don’t envy any athletic director or other personnel within the department. You know, I don’t envy them having to go through this because it is existential that that that’s correct. That can be a real scary moment when you first realize that.

Thanks to my intern Will Whitmore for assistance with this episode.

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