WVU set for Big 12 in 2012, leaving Big Least


I know, I know… this entry is a day late and a dollar short, kind of like Marinatto expanding the Big East. See what I did there?

On February 14th, WVU and the Big East signed their “breaking up papers”, paving the way for WVU to “head out west” to play some REAL football, and leaving behind the 7 slapdicks WVU played football with in the Big East since 2005; Pittsburgh, Syracuse, South Florida, Rutgers, UConn, Louisville and Cincinnati.

After the jump is all the fun details!

“Our membership in the Big 12 offers WVU significant advantages,” said WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck. “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.”

WVU will have to pay the Big East $20 million in damages.

WVU, however, will get half of that payment from the Big 12, sources say. Five-million will be a direct gift from the Big 12 while the remaining $5 million will be returned to the Big 12 in future years by WVU taking a smaller payout from the league.

West Virginia has already paid the Big East $2.5 million. That check was sent last fall when WVU announced it was leaving the league. Much, if not all, of the remaining $7.5 million will be covered by money owed WVU by the Big East that will not be paid.

Luck says the agreement prohibits the parties to discuss the details of the settlement but MetroNews has learned WVU is expected to make its payment entirely from the athletic department and will include no taxpayer dollars, no academic monies and no student tuition money. The University sees the deal as an “investment” since the conference payouts from the Big 12 will be more than double the current $7 million WVU gets from the Big East.

Source say WVU’s payment to the Big East, and forgoing revenue sharing money from the Big East, will put a short-term strain on the athletic department budget. However, WVU officials believe they will be better off financially in the long run because the larger payouts from the Big 12.

Apparently a key break in the negotiations came when the Big East accepted the $20 million dollar figure, which WVU had stuck with since discussions began. Initially, Commissioner John Marinatto proposed a figure of $50 to $60 million.

Luck also said in the release regarding the the settlement: “This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for WVU’s future. 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.

WVU President Jim Clements also issued a statement Tuesday.

“We are in great company in the Big 12, joining a group of world-class research universities – many of them large public land-grant flagship institutions like WVU,” Clements said. “These schools have quality academics, research, athletic programs, winning traditions and loyal, passionate fans.”

He added, “Our partnership with the Big 12 is an investment in WVU’s future. We’re looking forward to the tremendous opportunities it presents – all across our university.”

Source: MSN