West Virginia and the Big East Conference have reached a verbal agreement that would compensate the Big East $20 million and allow the Mountaineers to join the Big 12 Conference this season, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
On Wednesday, CBSSports.com first reported the Big East Conference and West Virginia were nearing a settlement of at least $20 million that would resolve all issues between the two parties. That settlement was reached one day later."It probably will be officially done [on Friday]," a source told CBSSports.com.
The Charleston Daily Mail first reported Thursday night that West Virginia and the Big East had reached a $20 million “conditional agreement.” West Virginia must pay the Big East $11 million and the Big 12 Conference would be responsible for the remaining $9 million, the Daily Mail reported. Acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said recently the Big 12 would consider assisting the Mountaineers with their exit fees, if they asked.It’s unknown if the $20 million is in addition to, or includes, the $5 million exit fee that West Virginia initially paid when it announced in October it was withdrawing from the Big East to join the Big 12 in 2012 and would not honor the league’s 27-month notice requirement before leaving.
Besides the $11 million it must pay the Big East, West Virginia also owes Florida State $500,000 after last week canceling a Sept. 8 game in Tallahassee. FSU athletic director Randy Spetman told the Orlando Sentinelhis school might also seek liquidated damages against WVU if a comparable opponent can not be found.
Last week the Big 12 Conference indicated it had provided its television partners with its 2012 football schedule and that West Virginia was on it. The league also is expected to release the schedule to the public on Friday.
CBSSports.com previously reported that West Virginia officials had contacted future Big East members to see if one could join the Big East in 2012, instead of 2013, to lower the amount of financial hardship to the league and also likely reduce the amount of West Virginia’s settlement with the league.
The Daily Mail reported that West Virginia’s $20 million settlement would not increase if the Big East is unable to find a replacement for the Mountaineers this fall.
Boise State is the most likely candidate to join the Big East a year early. Sources told CBSSports.com that Boise State has had discussions with the Western Athletic Conference to determine if its Olympic sports teams could join the WAC in 2012 so the Broncos’ football program could join the Big East this fall.
Boise State would have to pay the Mountain West about $7 million to $9 million to join the Big East in 2012, instead of 2013. Last week, Boise State president Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman it was "too late" for the Broncos to join the Big East in 2012. However, sources said they were skeptical of Kustra's comments and believe Boise State will be playing in the Big East this fall.
On Wednesday’s teleconference to announce Memphis as the Big East’s newest member, Big East commissioner John Marinatto would not comment on if the league would have a new team added for 2012 or when he expected the issues between the league and West Virginia to be resolved.With the legal issues behind them, the Mountaineers officially will join the 10-team Big 12 Conference on July 1 along with TCU. The remaining Big 12 members are: Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech.