Could West Virginia Be Headed to the Big 12?
West Virginia could be the next team on the move as part of the great conference realignment of 2011. According to a USA Today report, the Mountaineers will be selected as the newest member of the Big 12 as soon as Missouri makes official its anticipated move to the SEC.
Although neither Missouri nor West Virginia has made any official announcement yet, the anonymous Big East official cited in the report thinks that both deals are essentially done and that the official notices are just formalities at this point.
If the report is accurate, this could be the death knell for Big East football. With West Virginia leaving for the Big 12 and Syracuse and Pittsburgh bolting for the ACC, the conference would be down to just five football-playing members. Big East officials are working on their own expansion plans, reaching out to Boise State, Air Force, Navy, Central Florida, SMU and Houston. However, thus far nothing official has come of those discussions.
The Big 12 would certainly like West Virginia to join the conference next year when Texas A&M and, presumably, Missouri leave for the SEC. But that may be unlikely as the Big East has, thus far, refused to negotiate an exit date for Pitt and Syracuse earlier than the 27 months required under current conference bylaws. If they leave the Big East, the Mountaineers will be on the hook for a $5 million buyout.