West Virginia University has been officially invited to join the Big 12 Conference sources have told Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports.
It was initially reported earlier this week that West Virginia’s acceptance to the Big 12 was all but a formality; however last minute lobbying by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and others on behalf of Louisville delayed the final decision until this morning. West Virginia’s entrance to the conference is pending the departure of Missouri to the SEC, which is expected to happen within weeks.
The departure of West Virginia marks the fourth major team to make the decision to leave the Big East, after Pittsburgh, Syracuse and TCU announced intentions to leave for greener pastures earlier this year. With this latest loss, only Connecticut, Rutgers, USF, Cincinnati and Louisville will remain as members the conference’s football league.
As part of their departure, West Virginia must pay a $5 million exit fee. CBS Sports reports that this number could have been as high as $10 million if the school had announced their intention to leave after the Big East adds either Navy or Air Force. Big East commissioner John Marinatto reportedly met with Navy, Air Force and several other schools last week in an attempt to bolster the conference’s football presence.