West Virginia set to join Big 12 in July
Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - West Virginia and the Big East have agreed to settle their lawsuits, enabling the university to leave the conference and join the Big 12 in July.
West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck would not disclose terms of the settlement, but said in the school's release that no state or taxpayer funds, tuition or academic support money would be used.
The Charleston Daily Mail had reported last week that the Big East will receive about $20 million in exchange for allowing West Virginia to leave prior to the 27-month notification period as required by the conference's bylaws. The paper had indicated that West Virginia would pay $11 million with the Big 12 schools combining to supplement the remainder of the financial transaction.
"This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for WVU's future," Luck said. "I've heard from Mountaineer fans across the country who have made it very clear that they are proud and honored to be heading into the Big 12."
West Virginia announced its decision to defect from the Big East and join the Big 12 in October, making the move about a month after both Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced its departures to the ACC. While Syracuse and Pittsburgh both decided not to challenge the Big East's departure bylaw, West Virginia did.
In filing a lawsuit against the Big East, West Virginia had argued that it wanted to leave immediately because no such 27-month period of notification was needed for TCU, which had agreed to join the Big East for the start of the 2012-13 year and instead decided to join the Big 12.
The Big East countersued in Rhode Island, saying the 27-month rule did not apply to TCU because it had not yet participated in conference play.
While the legal process was playing out, the Big 12 and Big East were unable to finalize football schedules for 2012. The settlement now allows the Big 12 to remain with 10 members, as TCU and West Virginia will replace the outgoing Missouri and Texas A&M -- both departing for the SEC.
"Our membership in the Big 12 offers WVU significant advantages," Luck added. "The Big 12 is a strong and vibrant conference academically and athletically. We look forward to the potential academic and athletic partnerships and financial opportunities that membership in the Big 12 offers."
The Big East will now have just seven schools for football in 2012, unless one of the incoming members announced in its expansion plans can be persuaded to join early.
The new schools slated to join the league -- at different intervals -- are Memphis, Central Florida, SMU and Houston as full members and Boise State, San Diego State and Navy for football only.
02/14 11:06:22 ET