By PETE THAMEL
Published: October 25, 2011
West Virginia is headed to the Big 12, according to a person with
direct knowledge of the situation, a move that leaves the Big East with
five football programs and an uncertain future. The person said Tuesday
that the Mountaineers had “applied and are accepted,” leaving only
legal entanglements from making the move official. The person spoke on
condition of anonymity because the deal had not been formally announced.
West Virginia is the Big East’s flagship football program, and losing
its consistently strong performance will hurt the conference as it seeks
to hold on to its automatic Bowl Championship Series spot. With the
departure of the Mountaineers, who must pay a $5 million exit fee, the
conference’s football members are Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida,
Connecticut and Cincinnati. That gives it the same number of football
teams it had when Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech departed in
The only good news for the Big East is that the Big 12 planned to stay
at 10 teams for now, the person said. That will spare the Big East any
more critical losses and give it a chance to build into the 12-team
model that it would prefer.
While Missouri, a current Big 12 member, has yet to announce that it is
applying for membership in the Southeastern Conference, that move is
still viewed as inevitable. The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday
morning that Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton said it could be “days
or possibly a week or two” before Missouri’s application happened.
Legal problems are holding up Missouri’s move, as it has to negotiate
an exit fee, and there is a concern among Big 12 teams about how to fill
the void in their schedules that Missouri would leave. That creates two
problems, as universities will have to scramble to find another
opponent, perhaps from the Football Championship Subdivision. A victory
over a team from that level would not count toward a Big 12 member’s
bowl eligibility. It will also cause the Big 12 to fall short of
fulfilling its television contract. Both could be costly for the league.
The SEC made it very clear during its courtship with Texas A&M that it
would only accept the Aggies without legal issues, so Missouri must take
care of those before joining.
The Big East now moves toward putting together its proposed 12-team
model; it hopes to add Air Force, Navy and Boise State in football and
Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida in all sports. With West
Virginia gone, the new team most likely to emerge as a possible member
would be Temple, which has received resistance from its Philadelphia
rival Villanova. But with the league’s future in peril, it is hard to
imagine that Villanova would have enough influence to thwart Temple,
which boasts a rising football program, a strong basketball program and
the Philadelphia television market. East Carolina and Memphis would be
other candidates. Both have openly lobbied to join the Big East in the
West Virginia leaving Big East to join Big 12
By Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY Updated 10m ago
West Virginia will join the Big 12, according to an official in the Big
East who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak
publicly about the move.
West Virginia could join the Big 12 if Missouri decides to leave the
conference for the SEC. The Mountaineers would fill the spot vacated by
Missouri when it jumps to the Southeastern Conference. Though Missouri
hasn't formally withdrawn from the Big 12 just yet, that announcement
appears to be a formality.
The move by West Virginia will leave the Big East on life support with
just five football playing members committed to the league. Syracuse and
Pittsburgh have been accepted to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
To make matters worse, West Virginia will only be held to a $5 million
exit fee. The league recently doubled the conference's football exit fee
to $10 million, a move contingent on the execution of the expansion
The increase in exit fee would be triggered as soon as Air Force or
Navy agrees to join the league, according to an official in the Big East
who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity of discussions.
Since neither Navy nor Air Force has made such a move, the Mountaineers
will only have to pay $5 million.
Though the Big 12 would like the Mountaineers to begin league play next
season, that timetable appears unlikely. Big East Commissioner John
Marinatto is steadfast about not letting Pittsburgh and Syracuse leave
for the Atlantic Coast Conference before their 27-month league
The Big East has said it would like to add six teams to form a 12-team
football league. Now make that seven. The original model includes
inviting Mountain West members Boise State and Air Force and independent
Navy as football-only members and Conference USA members Central
Florida, SMU and Houston to join in all sports.
Houston regents will meet Thursday to authorize the school chancellor
to negotiate a move to a new conference. But at least some of the
institutions targeted by the Big East have been wary of additional Big
East defections. Now with WVU's move, there's good reason.
WVU headed to Big 12 if Missouri leaves
Brett McMurphy, CBS Sports
Shortly after Missouri officially announces it is withdrawing from the
Big 12, West Virginia will be extended an invitation to join the Big 12,
college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
The Mountaineers invitation to the Big 12 is contingent on Missouri
leaving for the SEC. Once Missouri notifies the Big 12 it is leaving,
the Mountaineers' official invitation could come within "24-48 hours," a
The Mountaineers would be the latest to leave the Big East Conference.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced they are leaving for the ACC and TCU
will join the Big 12 next season.
If West Virginia informs the Big East of its intention to leave before
the league adds Navy or Air Force, the Mountaineers would only be held
to a $5 million exit fee. If the Big East has added Navy or Air Force
before the Mountaineers notify the Big East, they would have to pay $10
million. Either way, the Mountaineers would not be able to leave the Big
East until June 30, 2014 – the same time frame as Syracuse and
Without West Virginia, Pitt, Syracuse and TCU, the remaining football
league members are UConn, Rutgers, USF, Louisville and Cincinnati.
Two days ago in Washington D.C., Big East commissioner John Marinatto
met with officials from Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF and Navy, but no
official invitations were extended. Air Force did not attend the
meeting. Representatives from other Big East schools also attended.
The Big East hopes to add those schools – along with Air Force – to
get to a 12-team football league. Even if the Big East adds those
schools, without West Virginia, they still would need another school.
The Western contingent of the Big East's possible future members -
Boise State, Air Force, Houston and SMU - are pushing for the Big East
to pursue BYU. It's unknown if the Cougars, which had talks with the Big
12, would be interested in joining a 12-team Big East.
If the Big East could land BYU - along with the other five new schools
- it would have two divisions: West - BYU, Air Force, Houston, SMU,
Boise State and Louisville and East - UConn, Rutgers, USF, Cincinnati,
Navy and UCF that Big East officials are confident would be worthy of
retaining its BCS automatic qualifying status.
Besides BYU, other possible candidates for the Big East's 12th member
would be Temple or East Carolina.