WVU, Big East agree to buyout plan
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West Virginia and the Big East Conference verbally agreed to a settlement Thursday night that will allow the Mountaineers to exit the conference for a sizable payout and join the Big 12, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The settlement is expected to include a cash payment of $11 million from West Virginia as the Post-Gazette reported Wednesday, but the Big East's total draw in the resolution could climb to as much as $20 million, said sources, when factoring in other terms of the settlement.
An exact final figure could not be confirmed Thursday night.
Paperwork has not been drawn up and signed, but sources indicated a formal announcement could occur as early as today. The agreement had been on the table for more than a week.
The resolution brings to an end more than three months of litigation since West Virginia announced plans Oct. 28 to join the Big 12.
The case officially was continued Thursday morning in Rhode Island Superior Court after a status hearing on a conference call between the parties' lawyers and Judge Michael Silverstein.
After the hearing, court spokesman Craig Berke said "the matter is continued to an unspecified date for another status conference," and that Silverstein "is certainly open to news of a settlement if that happens in the interim."
Silverstein had ordered the two parties into non-binding mediation in January.
Reports had surfaced that part of the wait was centered around whether or not Boise State -- or another school -- could be convinced to begin playing football in the Big East this fall instead of waiting until the 2013 season.
It is unclear if that is still an issue, but West Virginia's exit will mean every Big East school will need to replace the Mountaineers on their schedule next season.
That won't be easy this late despite recent additions to the conference. Central Florida, Houston, Southern Methodist and Memphis will not begin play as full members until '13, along with Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members. Navy, another football-only member, will begin play in '15.
First Published February 10, 2012 12:00 am