The Big 12 released a 10-team football schedule to its TV partners, the conference said Tuesday afternoon. That indicates West Virginia will be in the league in 2012.
The schedule will be released publicly "in the near future," the league said. CBSSports.com reported earlier in the day that the Big 12 would “likely” delay the release of its 2012 schedule until next week. As late as Tuesday afternoon the league was holding firm to a Feb. 1 deadline to have the schedule completed.
West Virginia and the Big East had been in deep discussions as to how to resolve dueling lawsuits over the school leaving the conference. A league spokesman told CBSSports.com last week that the Big 12 would release the schedule by Feb. 1.
Rightsholders ESPN and Fox now have the schedule seven months out from the 2012 season kickoff. Sources have maintained all along that the rightsholders could move the dates of certain games after receiving the schedule. Moving Texas-Baylor and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State to the final day of the 2011 regular season was a major boost to the Big 12. Baylor's Robert Griffin III won the Heisman a week later. Oklahoma State won its first conference title in decades playing for a BCS bowl in prime time.
West Virginia had been in arbitration with the Big East trying to resolve their lawsuits. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas has said on numerous occasions that the 2012 schedule would be released by Feb. 1 and that West Virginia would be on it.
With West Virginia, the Big 12 would again have 10 teams, same as 2011. Without the Mountaineers, the Big 12 would have nine teams leaving the league schools to add at least one non-conference game to fill out their schedules at a late date. If the league drops below 10 teams that would likely trigger language affecting payouts to the Big 12 from both networks.
Late last year, West Virginia filed suit to leave the Big East sooner than the league-mandated 27-month waiting period. The Big East countersued. If West Virginia leaves the Big East this year, that would leave the conference with only seven teams for 2012. That would mean each school would have to find a sixth non-conference game to complete its schedule.