And now, two invitations, two acceptances and two lawsuits later, it's just two days from being a reality. This is not a conclusion, though. Luck said it is a new beginning.
"It allows us, I think, to focus on things that we'd like to focus on, which is having the best athletic programs, having the best student-athletes to work with and the best coaches in the industry," he said. "It's our core business, but I think that certainly for me and many others in the athletic department and the president's office, we probably spent more time on this stuff than we did many other issues in the university. It's nice to focus on the right things now and move forward."
Luck's business remains the Big 12, but the aims have moved from getting into the conference to being successful in the conference. It's an ambitious goal that requires equally aggressive methods. WVU now has the ability to explore and implement those ideas.
"What gets me exited is that this allows us, and really, almost in a sense forces us, to really raise the bar - and not that we weren't trying hard before," Luck said. "But as we go into the Big 12, I think all of our programs, from football on down to rowing, are in a position now to where we look at everything we're doing and try to decide how we can do it even better.
"That covers everything from infrastructure to salaries to operations, the whole nine yards. There are some competitive sports in the Big 12 and we have a few sports, quite honestly, that haven't been competitive, baseball being one example and even volleyball, which is a massive step up from what we were experiencing previously. We've got a lot of work to do, but the great thing now is that we can focus on that and we don't have to worry about extraneous stuff."
Money, which was a factor in making the move to the Big 12, is the key in making it a successful move. Luck said the Mountaineers are fortunate to be doing this at a time when it's easier than ever to "unlock the value of our athletic department."
Scheduling football and basketball games is more lucrative than before and Luck's coaches are willing to play the games that grow the bank account. WVU is also in the process of bidding out its Tier 3 sponsorship and media rights and should come away with a multi-year contract worth millions of dollars annually.
Big 12 football has a stronger and more rewarding lineup of bowl games, including the newly created Champions Bowl partnership with the Southeastern Conference, and the four-team playoff that begins in 2014 will also help.
The payouts to conference members are significantly larger than what they were in the Big East. The Mountaineers aren't eligible for a full share of Big 12 revenue for their first three years, but will still make more from a 50-percent share this next year than they would have as a full-share member in the Big East.
If WVU is good, it will make money, but Luck acknowledges it will require spending money. The current athletic department budget is a little more than $60 million, but could reach $100 million in just a few years.
"My sense with that is six, eight, maybe nine years," Luck said. "It's difficult to pinpoint, but I think given what's happening at the national level with the new playoff format eventually meaning more dollars, with the stuff we're trying to do with our third-tier stuff and increasing the interest in our baseball program, it happens down the road a little bit.
"It may be 2018, 2020, 2022, but I think you'll see it. If you look at the number of schools that have crossed the $100 million mark, it's a longer list now than it was before and even a few years ago. At one point, it was just Texas and Ohio State. Now there are a lot more teams that have crept up in there and they're doing it with what I would call money from the outside."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.