As first reported by CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy on Friday morning, the Big 12 has invited West Virginia to join the conference and West Virginia accepted the invitation, informing the Big East of the decision on Friday.
The move is now official as the Big 12 has released a statement about West Virginia.
"The Big 12 Presidents and Chancellors are excited to welcome another outstanding institution to the Conference," said Burns Hargis, Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors in the release. "The addition of West Virginia, while expanding the reach of the Big 12, brings an impressive institution with esteemed academics and a proud athletic tradition into the Conference. This is another step in building a strong foundation for the future of the Big 12."
"The Big 12 is a perfect fit for West Virginia University," said WVU President Dr. James P. Clements. "It is a strong conference that, like WVU, values quality academic and athletic programs, and has a great tradition of success. This is a very exciting time for WVU and Mountaineer nation. I am confident that the future of WVU athletics has never been more promising."
|West Virginia to the Big 12|
During a conference call on Friday afternoon announcing the deal, West Virginia said that it plans on being in the Big 12 by July 2012, but it's not official as of yet. From Chip Patterson's post:
Both [athletic director Oliver] Luck and [President James] Clements repeatedly used the target date "July 1, 2012" as the school's expected arrival in the Big 12. When multiple questions were posed to West Virginia's leadership on how they planned to leave before the completion 27-month period - the response was predictably vague.How West Virginia would go about that, the odds are that the answer is money. The Big East may be willing to let the Mountaineers leave early if the school pays far more than the $5 million exit fee. What exactly the amount would be for that, well, as Luck said above, those discussions are currently being held.
"Our team and their team were in discussion today, tying to make that happen," Luck said of the negotiations with the Big East office.
Of course, this does not answer every question about this announced move. Generally over the last few weeks when West Virginia was a rumored target of the Big 12, it was always with the caveat that the conference wouldn't bring in another school unless Missouri left the conference first. Well, as of the news that West Virginia had accepted an invitation on Friday, Missouri had yet to announce that it was leaving for the SEC.
Though it's possible that Missouri's announcement could be coming in the next couple of days.