According to WVU's 2011-12 equity report, the Mountaineers needed $470,408 for women's tennis and $851,642 for the combined women's cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams. While WVU has tennis courts and could find cross-country courses, it would have likely needed to renovate its track facilities.
The golf team can make use of the state's wealth of courses.
"I can't imagine we wouldn't have a great opportunity to put together a collegiate tournament at one of these great courses," Luck said.
WVU will also be able to manage expenses because the coaching staff will have only the head coach and because the roster won't be so large that it racks up travel costs. The travel for golf, which is split up into fall and spring seasons that span much of the academic year, is much more flexible and limited than it is for sports like football, basketball and baseball.
"We will not play a regular season (schedule) with the Big 12, just a championship event," said Terri Howes, the associate athletic director for sports administration. "Much of our travel operating cost is based on competitions in the mid-Atlantic and eastern regions."
The Big 12 does provide WVU a number of models to emulate. Oklahoma State has won 10 national championships and counts among many former players Michael Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Morgan Hoffman, Charles Howell III, Edward Loar, Hunter Mahan, Jeff Maggert, Bob Tway, Bo Van Pelt, Scott Verplank and Casey Wittenberg. Mark Brooks, Ben Crenshaw, Bob Estes, Harrison Frazar, Tom Kite and Justin Leonard played at three-time national champion Texas while Martin Flore, Hunter Haas, Todd Hamilton, Anthony Kim and Grant Waite have played at Oklahoma, which has one national title.
Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and TCU have also produced professional players.
"Golf had a strong tradition on this campus, and its statewide popularity makes it a perfect addition to our department," said Luck, who pointed out 108 West Virginia high schools in West Virginia offered boys' golf and 1,016 boys competed. "A lot of thought, time and effort went into this decision as far as cost, travel and infrastructure goes, and I believe the strong tradition and history of Big 12 golf will only enhance our chances of building a championship program."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.