CBS Sports is reporting that the Big 12 has invited West Virginia to join the conference and the university will accept the invitation. The move is expected to be announced today according to Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports. The Big 12 will also stick with a ten team league, which will include West Virginia and TCU following the departures of Texas A&M (SEC) and Missouri (expected to be SEC).
The Big East recently voted to raise the exit fees in the conference in the event another football school decided to leave the conference, as long as they could have Navy or Air Force join the league. Because that has not happened, West Virginia would be billed $5 million to leave the conference, which currently is enforcing a 27-month waiting period for Pittsburgh and Syracuse to leave for the ACC. It is unknown if West Virginia’s move to the Big 12 will have any affect on that decision to uphold the waiting period, which would keep the three top Big East football schools in the conference through the 2013 football season.
The Big East has been in talks with Boise State and Air Force this week about the possibility of inviting each to the conference, and the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA, who recently announced a joint venture to align their conferences, has been in touch about expanding the alliance in hopes of securing an automatic berth to the BCS. The Big East has some clear decisions to make, and the next few days and weeks will lead to some big changes in the Big East.
If the Big 12 is to stick with ten teams, that rules out further moves to invite BYU, Louisville, Cincinnati and more to get to a twelve team league and qualify for a Big 12 championship game. That is a bold decision that may or may not be explored again.
If West Virginia wants to leave then the remaining Big East members (Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, Rutgers, Connecticut) should convince Marinatto to allow the departing members to move now rather than drag everything out through the 27-month waiting period. Keeping these disinterested members on board for such a period of time will do nothing but hurt the morale of the conference and will allow the Big East to move on for better or for worse.
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