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Big 12 Expansion: West Virginia Negotiating Early Departure From Big East

Pete Thamel followed the West Virginia University press conference Friday where AD Oliver Luck and the school's president made it clear that they are not only leaving the Big East for the Big 12, but they have no intention of sticking around for 27 months before doing so.

Luck said it twice: "We’re excited and look forward to July 1 2012 and joining the Big 12 conference."

WVU President on BE buyout: "Our team and their team are in discussions about how we make that happen."

WVU President said that they wired $2.5 million to the Big East in Providence today.

If and when West Virginia figures out how to leave the Big East early (which will likely just be a matter of money), expect Syracuse and Pitt to try and make the same move as they desperately want out of the conference as soon as possible.

The difference between WVU's situation and SU/Pitt's situation is that the Big 12 will need West Virginia to make sure they keep ten teams in the conference, assuming Missouri leaves.

For more on the Mountaineers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.