Reports: WVU Headed To Big 12

Multiple media outlets across the country reported Tuesday that West Virginia will head to the Big 12 Conference shortly after Missouri's pending move to the Southeastern Conference is made official. As has been the case throughout the realignment saga, however, exact timeframes for the move have not been established.

By noon on Tuesday, the New York Post , New York Times , USA Today , Chicago Tribune and each had separately filed reports -- citing anonymous sources within intercollegiate athletics -- indicating the Mountaineers would make the move away from the Big East Conference.

Pete Thamel of the Times reported that West Virginia has already "applied" and been "accepted" into the Big 12. Brett McMurphy of said the move will be made official within 24-48 hours of Missouri's formal goodbye to the Big 12.

Kelly Whiteside of USA Today reported WVU would only be subject to the Big East's current $5 million exit fee so long as the deal is consummated before the Big East adds either Navy or Air Force. McMurphy reported Big East commissioner John Marinatto met with officials from many of that league's expansion targets on Sunday, but no invitations were extended.

Independent of those reports, a source with ties to media outlets involved with the Big 12 also indicated that West Virginia was the top choice to replace Missouri when it departed, if it happened quickly.

The timeframe question wasn't an inconsequential one, according to more than one source. As of last Sunday, confidence in the West Virginia move was high, and that is reflected in the reports of other media outlets over the past few hours. However, it was just a few weeks prior that BYU appeared to be the Big 12's choice to replace Missouri

BYU, Louisville and Cincinnati were also under consideration by the Big 12 as potential additions, and at one point the source indicated that those schools should not be viewed as eliminated from the expansion process. However, while those schools could be potential candidates for Big 12 expansion beyond ten schools, it appears, at least for now, that West Virginia will be Missouri's replacement, and that the league will stay at ten members for the immediate future.

From WVU's perspective, it wants the process to play out as quickly as possible, so it can secure a place in a conference that is assured BCS status, as well as a spot in whatever mechanism replaces the BCS following the 2013 season.

Also still to be determined are exact exit dates, which will certainly be subject to much negotiation. The Big East has indicated that it will not allow schools to leave prior to the 27-month waiting period following official notification to the league.

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