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New York Times: West Virginia headed to the Big 12

This is my nightmare.

West Virginia is headed to the Big 12, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, a move that leaves the Big East with five football programs and an uncertain future. The person said Tuesday that the Mountaineers had "applied and are accepted," leaving only legal entanglements from making the move official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been formally announced.

West Virginia is the Big East’s flagship football program, and losing its consistently strong performance will hurt the conference as it seeks to hold on to its automatic Bowl Championship Series spot. With the departure of the Mountaineers, who must pay a $5 million exit fee, the conference’s football members are Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati. That gives it the same number of football teams it had when Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech departed in 2003.


The Big East now moves toward putting together its proposed 12-team model; it hopes to add Air Force, Navy and Boise State in football and Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida in all sports. With West Virginia gone, the new team most likely to emerge as a possible member would be Temple, which has received resistance from its Philadelphia rival Villanova. But with the league’s future in peril, it is hard to imagine that Villanova would have enough influence to thwart Temple, which boasts a rising football program, a strong basketball program and the Philadelphia television market. East Carolina and Memphis would be other candidates. Both have openly lobbied to join the Big East in the past.

Who's ready to host East Carolina on Big Monday?