WVU, Big East near resolution
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West Virginia is close to reaching a settlement with the Big East.
The Mountaineers will pay the conference an $11 million cash settlement to join the Big 12 for the upcoming football season, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The settlement is expected to bring to an end more than three months of litigation between the school and the conference since the Mountaineers announced in late October that it planned to join the Big 12 in time for the 2012 football season.
The sides are scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. status hearing today on a conference call with Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein, who ordered the parties into non-binding mediation last month.
The resolution is expected soon, potentially as early as today, sources said, but it remains unclear if the $11 million figure includes a $5 million exit fee called for in the Big East bylaws or if it is in addition to the $5 million. West Virginia already has paid $2.5 million of that fee.
West Virginia and Big 12 officials have shown supreme confidence in public statements during the process -- repeatedly saying they were confident the Mountaineers will be members of the Big 12 by July 1, 2012.
West Virginia announced plans to join the Big 12 Oct. 28, about a month after the first major shifts in college football realignment began.
Three days later, it sued the Big East in Monongalia County (W.Va.) Circuit Court, citing lack of leadership by commissioner John Marinatto and a breach of fiduciary duties.
Four days after that, the Big East fired back, filing a suit against West Virginia in Rhode Island, claiming breach of contract, and including an order to require West Virginia to comply with Big East bylaws.
Those bylaws included at the time a $5 million exit fee and a 27-month waiting period. The exit fee has since been raised to $10 million.
Since then, the Big East has been searching to restock the conference. It added Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist as full members in recent months while adding Boise State, San Diego State and Navy as football members.
The latest -- and likely final football addition said Marinatto -- was the addition Wednesday of Memphis as a full member for the 2013-14 season.
Speculation about a resolution had heated up since West Virginia dropped a football game against Florida State last week. It intensified further when the Big East added Memphis.
First Published February 9, 2012 12:00 am