MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University officials are willing to pay the Big East $11 million and are expected to receive money from the Big 12 Conference to help resolve all legal issues, a source confirmed to the Gazette on the eve of ordered mediation.
All indications were the legal wrangling between WVU, which is seeking to jump to the Big 12 next school year, and the Big East was nearing an end. But a source close to the situation told the Gazette late Wednesday that "things are still very fluid."
CBSSports.com reported the sides were nearing a settled agreement "worth at least $20 million" and attributed that to "college football industry sources."
That, however, could be a number reached if each Big 12 school pitches in $1 million in order to get the Mountaineers in the conference next season and satisfy television contracts calling for 10 members.
West Virginia is expected to join the Big 12 for the 2012-13 school year. CBSSports claimed "in a bizarre twist ... West Virginia officials have contacted future Big East members to see if one could join in 2012 instead of 2013."
The reason is the Big East would be left with seven football members and a hole would be left in each of the 12-game schedules.
Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told the Gazette that West Virginia would be on the upcoming football schedules. Reports are that WVU is indeed on those, which were sent to television partners. As of Wednesday night, though, neither the Big 12 nor the Big East football schedules had been released.
Reports have it that Big East commissioner John Marinatto continued to state his league would require West Virginia to honor the league's 27-month exit agreement, although privately admitting the Mountaineers are leaving. The two sides are locked in legal battles both in the Mountain State and Rhode Island.
On a teleconference, though, announcing the addition of Memphis, Marinatto said, "It would be inappropriate for me to get into specifics about all of that at this point. I'm going to not talk about that."
The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reported that if WVU leaves, Syracuse and Rutgers could play each other twice with both games counting in the standings.
Neither WVU president Jim Clements nor athletic director Oliver Luck would comment on the numbers Wednesday night at the Mountaineer basketball game with Notre Dame. Clements did say, however, no state tax money would be used in any settlement.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.