PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 22: The University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Steve Pederson speaks to reporters after introducing the new head football coach Paul Chryst on December 22, 2011 at the University of Pittsburgh Panthers South Side training facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

NCAA Conference Realignment: Pitt Will Go To ACC In 2013

Pitt will join the ACC in 2013 after reaching an exit agreement with the Big East.

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Conference Realignment: Big East Reportedly Sues West Virginia

The acrimony between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Big East Conference reached its zenith--or nadir, really, depending on one's perspective--Friday afternoon when the Big East filed suit against the university in Rhode Island's Superior Court, seeking an order for West Virginia to comply with the conference's bylaws. The Mountaineers want to begin play in the Big 12 as soon as next season, while the Big East would rather they didn't. This news comes from Brett McMurphy of CBSSports, who's followed the Mountaineers' attempt to leave the Big East extensively.

The suit comes just days after West Virginia filed its lawsuit against the conference, citing its "ineffective leadership and breach of fiduciary duties." The university's contention is that the Big East did not do enough to keep itself viable as a football conference, which led to the departures of top football clubs the Syracuse Orange, Pittsburgh Panthers, and TCU Horned Frogs.

The Big East, meanwhile, wants WVU to comply with the conference's 27-month notification deadline. The university paid half of the $5 million relocation fee up front in order to ease negotiations as it tried to wriggle out of waiting over two years to join the Big 12, but it appears as though the Big East wasn't impressed.


Conference Realignment: West Virginia To The Big 12, What It Means For The Mountaineers

Well, it finally appears that after a couple of false starts, some obnoxious political wrangling, and a whole lot of hand wringing around the Mountain State the West Virginia Mountaineers are heading to the Big 12. What does that mean for WVU?

Some semblance of stability. The Big 12 had some egg on its face throughout this whole realignment mess, but not nearly in the copious amounts that have besmirched the Big East. While the Big 12 played hardball with Texas and Oklahoma to keep them from bolting westward, the Big East saw its teams flee like rats from a burning ship. Obviously, conference re-alignment is a mess right now, so it’s tough to predict what will happen in 10 minutes, let alone 10 years. For the time being it appears the Mountaineers have left a conference which was imploding in favor of one which will be around for awhile. All while retaining automatic qualifying status for the BCS! That sound you hear is a sigh of relief from Mountaineer fans everywhere who dreaded that when the conference carousel came to an end, WVU would find itself on the outside looking in.

A tougher path to the BCS … but an easier path to the BCS title game. While the Big East had plenty of detractors, the ability to get its championship team into BCS bowl games wasn’t one of them. In fact, the level of competition in the Big East was so low that WVU fired Bill Stewart after he failed to win the league in three tries, despite having the best winning percentage in school history. Now the path to the BCS is significantly tougher and the Mountaineers will have to go through Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State annually in order to make a BCS bowl game. That said, while in the Big East, WVU needed to win the conference and then hope a myriad of other things occurred to catapult the Mountaineers into the BCS title game. Now, a Big 12 championship will do the trick. In many ways, the hunt for WVU’s first national title just got a lot simpler: win the conference, get a shot at the ring. The only problem is, the teams that WVU needs to go through just got a lot more formidable.

Better bowl games if WVU doesn’t win the Big 12. The problem with the Big East was that if WVU didn’t win the conference, they were immediately sent to bowl purgatory. Now, a second place Big 12 finish still probably gets the Mountaineers into a BCS bowl or, at the very least, the Cotton Bowl. Of course, the Big 12 is the Cowboy Conference, so Mountaineer fans are almost guaranteed a trip to a random bowl played in Texas if they finish lower than second or third in the Big 12.

A step down in basketball. If Big East football competition was too weak to do any good, Big East basketball competition was the exact opposite. That league so good, if WVU finished in the top half they were almost guaranteed an NCAA tournament bid and decent seed too. The Big 12 is a decent basketball conference led by Kansas, Baylor and Kansas State and it will be fun to see some new teams coming into the Coliseum. The middle of the Big 12 pack just can’t compete with the Big East, but it still will be a fun league to compete in. The Mountaineers already have a couple of candidates for natural rivals in Kansas State and Texas. Bob Huggins had a one year stop-over in Manhattan, Kansas on his way to WVU and one can be sure that Wildcat fans haven’t forgotten that. Mountaineer fans will never forget Kenton Paulino’s dagger that kept the ‘Eers from the Elite Eight in 2006 in Kevin Pittsnogle’s final game. Many in Morgantown are eager with a re-match with the Longhorns. Personally, I look forward to a trip to Phog Allen Fieldhouse to see WVU square off with one of college basketball’s legendary squads. It’s going to be a heck of a drive, though.

A real problem for the non-revenue sports.  Do you run track for WVU? Play golf? Do you love buses? I hope so, because you’ll be on one for a week on your way to away games in Ames, Lubbock and Norman. Thank goodness the NCAA’s hypocrisy about the “student athlete” only extends to the revenue sports. We can’t have a BCS playoff, because the football players would play three extra games but if you are an athlete in a non-revenue sport at WVU, your life just got a lot more complicated.


Conference Realignment: West Virginia To Big 12 A 'Done Deal,' According To Report

The West Virginia Mountaineers' move to the Big 12 Conference "is a done deal," reports Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette. A joint news conference to formally announce the move will take place Wednesday.

West Virginia is expected to join the Big 12 once the Missouri Tigers leave for the Southeastern Conference. The Mountaineers' defection leaves the Big East reeling, as it has already lost the Syracuse Orange, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Texas Christian Horned Frogs within the last year. Andrea Adelson of ESPN notes that West Virginia's departure could jeopardize the Big East's status as an automatic qualifying conference for the Bowl Championship Series, as it will leave it with only five football schools. At present, the Big East champion receives an at-large bid to either the Fiesta Bowl against the Big 12 champion, the Orange Bowl against the Atlantic Coast Conference champion, or the Sugar Bowl against the SEC champion.

The Horned Frogs and Mountaineers will replace the Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies in the Big 12 upon their move to the SEC. Upon their Big 12 arrival, TCU and WVU will join the Baylor Bears, Iowa St. Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas St. Wildcats, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma St. Cowboys, Texas Longhorns, and Texas Tech Red Raiders.

We'll have much more on this story at SB Nation Pittsburgh as it continues to develop.

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