Shortly after Missouri officially announces it is withdrawing from the Big 12, West Virginia will be extended an invitation to join the Big 12, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
The Mountaineers invitation to the Big 12 is contingent on Missouri leaving for the SEC. Once Missouri notifies the Big 12 it is leaving, the Mountaineers' official invitation could come within "24-48 hours," a source said.
The Mountaineers would be the latest to leave the Big East Conference. Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced they are leaving for the ACC and TCU will join the Big 12 next season.
If West Virginia informs the Big East of its intention to leave before the league adds Navy or Air Force, the Mountaineers would only be held to a $5 million exit fee. If the Big East has added Navy or Air Force before the Mountaineers notify the Big East, they would have to pay $10 million. Either way, the Mountaineers would not be able to leave the Big East until June 30, 2014 – the same time frame as Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Without West Virginia, Pitt, Syracuse and TCU, the remaining football league members are UConn, Rutgers, USF, Louisville and Cincinnati.
Two days ago in Washington D.C., Big East commissioner John Marinatto met with officials from Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF and Navy, but no official invitations were extended. Air Force did not attend the meeting. Representatives from other Big East schools also attended.
The Big East hopes to add those schools – along with Air Force – to get to a 12-team football league. Even if the Big East adds those schools, without West Virginia, they still would need another school.
The Western contingent of the Big East's possible future members - Boise State, Air Force, Houston and SMU - are pushing for the Big East to pursue BYU. It's unknown if the Cougars, who had talks with the Big 12, would be interested in joining a 12-team Big East.
If the Big East could land BYU - along with the other six new schools - it would have two divisions: West - BYU, Air Force, Houston, SMU, Boise State and Louisville and East - UConn, Rutgers, USF, Cincinnati, Navy and UCF that Big East officials are confident would be worthy of retaining its BCS automatic qualifying status.
Besides BYU, other possible candidates for the Big East's 12th member would be Temple or East Carolina.On Tuesday afternoon, Big East spokesman John Paquette told CBSSports.com that a Las Vegas Journal report that Marinatto would meet with Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson Wednesday in New York about a merger between the leagues was inaccurate.