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It's official - Pitt is headed to the ACC in 2013. The Panthers will reportedly pay $7.5 million as part of the deal to get out a year earlier than the 2014 target date. Ever since Syracuse negotiated their way out, it seemed like Pitt would be next.
Athletic director Steve Pederson sent out an email to fans for their support:
Dear Panthers Fan,
I am very pleased to let you know that we have reached an agreement that allows Pitt's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference July 1, 2013. We have much work to do prior to that time, including having a very successful year in the Big East in what will be our final season.
We are honored to be joining the historic Atlantic Coast Conference with its outstanding institutions as our partners.
It is important that we also remember that for our seniors, 2012-13 will be the most important season of their careers. We will do everything possible to make sure this final season in the Big East, and their final season, is a great success. It will be a delicate balance, but we need to focus our commitment to our student-athletes on Big East success this season prior to celebrating the move to the ACC.
To many constituents and our recruits, it is time to trumpet the move to the ACC. As one of the truly historic brands in college sports, we believe the ACC provides the best combination of academic and athletic success of any major conference. The principles of the ACC are "A Tradition of Excellence... Then, Now, and Always." These principles are right in line with the great history and continuing aspirations of the University of Pittsburgh. We have already seen many of the benefits of ACC membership in just the past year.
This move to the ACC begins a new era of greatness in Pitt Athletics and the future is even brighter for those who love this University. While it has always been a great time to be at Pitt, our greatest days still lie ahead.
For more on the Panthers, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.
The Big East and Pitt announced on Wednesday an agreement that allows the Panthers to leave for the ACC in time for the 2013-2014 season -- a year ahead of schedule. In return, the school will pay the conference $7.5 million, which includes the original $5 million exit fee plus an additional $2.5 million, according to CBSSports.com.
"We have appreciated and enjoyed our membership in the Big East and wish them much success in the future," said Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson in a statement. "We are anxious to compete in our final season in the Big East and look forward to an exciting future in the Atlantic Coast Conference."
The Panthers will now join the ACC on July 1, 2013. Earlier this week, Syracuse, which is leaving the Big East for the ACC as well, reached a similar agreement. With both programs in the fold, the ACC boasts 14 member schools.
"This is another step for the Big East to take toward a very exciting future," Big East interim commissioner Joe Bailey said. "With the addition of our eight new members, the Big East will be incredibly strong and vibrant."
Following the departures of Pitt and Syracuse, the Big East has since added Temple for this season, as well as Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are joining the ACC conference, leaving the Big East. The only question was when the team would wind up making their move. Initially, the Pitt was expected to make the move in 2014, but according to a report by Mark McMurphy of CBS Sports, the Panthers are pushing for it to happen in 2013.
The Big East will consider allowing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to leave the league for the ACC a year early in 2013, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said Wednesday. College football industry sources told CBSSports.com that "there is no doubt" Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be in the ACC in 2013. It's just a question of what type of additional compensation the Big East would require from each school.
West Virginia has already made a settlement with the Big East to leave earlier than the required 27 month notice, as they are joining the Big 12 in 2012. With Pitt now looking to get into the mix of leaving earlier than 2014, it will come down to what kind of financial compensation the Big East will require from the Panthers to make the leap to the ACC in 2013.
For more on the Pittsburgh Panthers, visit SB Nation's Pitt blog Cardiac Hill. For more on the move to the ACC, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.
University of Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson tells Jerry Dipaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the University is not considering paying more than the $5 million exit fee to play in the ACC in 2012.
With this, fans should fully expect that the Panthers will be in the Big East for the 2012 football season.
If they aren't bluffing, Pederson and his staff have plenty of work to do. With West Virginia now off the schedule, Pitt is left with an empty home date in what is already a pretty weak home schedule featuring Youngstown State, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Louisville and another FCS team to be determined.
One of Pitt's options would be to play a Big East team twice and face off in a game that wouldn't count toward the Big East standings. They will likely try to stay away from this scenario, as a home-and-home series could bring some embarrassing attention to the program.
Pederson says the team was actively looking for a team to come to Heinz Field for a non-conference game, although their options at this point are pretty slim.
For more coverage about Pitt Panther football or basketball, visit Cardiac Hill
In a recent interview with Atlanta radio station 790 The Zone, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck talked about the immediate aftermath of the end of the Mountaineers' time in the Big East. He brings up an interesting point that I'm not sure has been discussed about the Big East's sudden infatuation of adding teams from the West Coast.
Considering the alternative, quite honestly, if we remained where we were, we would've been more than likely in a western division. As you guys know, what the Big East has done, adding San Diego State and Boise and Houston and SMU, Memphis. We would be traveling even further.
Considering the Big East's decision to add so many schools from the West Coast, a move to the Big 12 makes a more sense. While the travel will still be an issue for West Virginia, the travel won't be nearly as intensive if they had to travel to two or three different time zones every week. While being in the Big 12, they only have to adjust to playing in one different time zone.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are going to have to pay the Big East $20 million in total exit fees for leaving the conference immediately. Mike Casazza of The Daily mail originally reported that the settlement would wind up actually being an $11 million cash payout. On Wednesday evening, we have more news on the details of the settlement of Casazza.
The $9 million is what the Big East and WVU agree is the "Forecasted Amount" WVU will earn in conference revenue in 2011-12. The Mountaineer are leaving that behind, which means, in essence, WVU is paying $9 million. There's a chance WVU makes more than $9 million in 2011-12, in which case the Big East would pay WVU the difference.
The FOIA delivered the details of the deal, which contained three financial amounts. Those amounts were $2.5 million, $8.5 million, and $9 million which all add up to $20 million. The $2.5 million mark is the amount that the Mountaineers have already paid to the Big East conference. The $8.5 million will be paid by WVU and the Big 12 Transition Fund to the Big East conference, which equals out to the agreed upon $11 million cash payout.
Adding together the $11 million from what WVU has already paid and the $8.5 million from the Big 12 Transition Fun with the $9 million in projected revenue from the 2011-2012 season, you have the full $20 million settlement amount.
ESPN reports that West Virginia and the Big East have settled their dispute, and that WVU is officially clear to join the Big 12 this summer.
The Big East Conference board of directors voted to terminate West Virginia’s membership, effective June 30. The vote is conditioned upon WVU fulfilling its obligations under an agreement that resolves the lawsuits between both parties.
This comes as no surprise for anyone who’s been following the story, but it’s significant that WVU’s move to the Big 12 — a move the Mountaineers seemed committed to make in 2012 come hell or high water — is finally official. The Big East will reportedly get $20 million, of which $11 million will come from WVU and $9 million will come from the Big 12.
The 2012 Big 12 football schedule has already been released, and WVU is already on it — the Mountaineers will play their first Big 12 conference game against Baylor on September 29 in Morgantown.
Pitt and Syracuse will reportedly remain in the Big East until 2014, when they will depart for the ACC.
West Virginia barely has both feet out of the Big East door, but the Big 12 has already released its 2012 football conference schedule.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are on their way to the Big 12 after negotiating an early buyout that will allow them to play in their new conference next season. Syracuse and Pitt are on their way out as well, but according to BrettMcMurphy of CBS Sports, they will not try to join their new conference in time to play the 2012 football season. But the 2013 season is a much greater possibility.
Sources told CBSSports.com that Pittsburgh and Syracuse won’t try to leave this summer, but will attempt to negotiate deals to allow them to join the ACC a year early in 2013. Unlike West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have not pursued any legal action to get out of the Big East’s 27-month exit requirement and leave before 2014.
By waiting an additional year Pitt and Syracuse will probably save some money on the negotiated buyout. West Virginia had to pay $20 million to get into the Big 12 new year. We can expect the price for Pitt to be less than that, but we won't know exactly what it will be until the negotiations take place after next season.
After some lawyers got involved and expedited the whole process, West Virginia will leave the Big East for the Big 12 earlier than expected, with an official announcement coming from the Big East on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Big East to announce this morning West Virginia no longer a league member & headed to Big 12 for 2012-13 season— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyCBS) February 14, 2012
The fellas over at SB Nation also have more details on the buyout that the Big East will receive from West Virginia as a result. It turns out that the Big 12 will play a pretty good amount of that exit fee, including a portion as a loan to be repaid in the form of lower payouts in the future.
For more on the Mountaineers fight to leave the Big East, visit The Smoking Musket. For updates on Big East football, basketball and expansion, visit Big East Coast Bias, and stay tuned to SB Nation's college conference realignment section.
The West Virginia Mountaineers reached a settlement agreement with the Big East that allows them to leave the Conference earlier than the normal buy-out would have allowed. That means they'll be gone next year, but it also might mean that Pitt could leave the Conference earlier than they might have thought possible, according to Cardiac Hill.
Now, there's a dollar amount that can be paid to leave the Big East early. Likely what will happen is that Pitt and Syracuse negotiate their way for an exit in 2013 for much lower amount than what WVU paid. The Big East will have their new members in, Pitt and Syracuse will be in the ACC, and everyone can just move on.
The Panthers agreed to move to the ACC early in the football season, but the Big East adheres to a 27-month buyout plan that would have forced Pitt to spend two more seasons in a Conference they were dying to get out of. West Virginia could have paved the way for Pitt to get out of the Conference a lot earlier.
For more on this and all things Pitt athletics, please head over to Cardiac Hill.
The Big East Conference and West Virginia have been in negotiations over the school's exit from the conference since the fall, and the two sides have reportedly come to an agreement. Earlier on Thursday, West Virginia's negotiated exit fee was reported to be sitting at around $11 million, but the deal was still was apparently not done. The Charleston Daily Mail has since updated their story, and is now reporting that the two sides have an agreement.
A source said Thursday the Big East has approved a proposal offered by WVU, but the details on that plan were not immediately available.
Though the Daily Mail is saying that the details on the exit plan aren't available, they are sticking by their previous report that there will be a cash settlement of approximately $11 million.
The Big 12 has strong members, and adding West Virginia will only increase their revenues on media rights packages in the future. Though $11 million sounds like a lot of money, the Big 12's current and future television packages will almost certainly allow WVU to make up that loss fairly quickly.
UPDATE: The total deal, which is still conditional, is for $20 million, with WVU paying $11 million and the Big 12 pitching in $9 million.
For more on WVU sports, check out The Smoking Musket.
Sources familiar with the negotiations told the Daily Mail Wednesday the university is nearly finished with a resolution to pay a “cash settlement” of $11 million to complete its exit from the Big East.
The settlement is not yet complete, and could be contingent upon WVU helping find another school to join the Big East early, taking the Mountaineers’ spot.
One source said the Big East is aware the best way to mitigate damages sustained by losing WVU is by adding a future Big East member sooner than previously planned.
Boise State, for example, is set to join the Big East in 2013, but would have to pay a $5 million buyout to leave the Mountain West Conference early.
Another possibility is Navy, which might actually be more convenient, since Navy is not currently in a conference. The only stumbling block would be the games currently on its 2012 schedule.
The settlement should soon become official, the Daily Mail reports. It could occur this week.
The Mountaineers have announced plans to join the Big 12 conference, and are trying to do so in 2012.
For more on WVU sports, check out The Smoking Musket.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are planning to leave the Big East conference and head to the Big 12, starting with the 2012-2013 college football season. Previously the Big East filed a lawsuit against the Mountaineers for trying to leave the conference earlier than they were allowed to, but according to CBS Sports, the two sides are nearing a settlement agreement.
The Big East, though, likely would receive substantial monetary damages. Even Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman said his school might seek liquidated damages against WVU after WVU canceled a Sept. 8 game at Florida State, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
WVU would reportedly settle with the Big East for $20 million, as long as the Big East is able to find another football school for 2012. West Virginia already paid the Big East $5 million in October, and it's not yet clear whether that $5 million is included in the $20 million settlement. West Virginia is planning to play in the Big 12 this season.
CBS also reports that West Virginia is trying to recruit one of the Big East's new schools to play in the Big East in 2012. Presumably the Mountaineers' motivation here is to avoid paying the Big East a larger settlement.
For more on West Virginia, check out SB Nation's Mountaineers blog, the Smoking Musket.
Will the Pittsburgh Panthers leave the Big East Conference and join the ACC for the 2012 season, a year earlier than their anticipated departure date of 2013? Paul Zeise of the Post-Gazette certainly thinks so, and believes the recent events surrounding West Virginia and the brass of the Big East will be the catalyst for Pittsburgh's move.
Zeise believes it is only a matter time before West Virginia formally announces that the school intends to leave the Big East to join the Big 12 for the 2012 season, and when they do, Pittsburgh should follow suit and put the conference it has long called home on notice. The Big East let TCU out of their deal with the conference, and with the possibility of West Virginia leaving, the Panthers are in serious danger of losing two games on their football schedule for the upcoming season. This another example of the Big East dropping the ball, according to Zeise, as instead of working things out with schools they had longstanding relationships with when they had the chance, they can now expect to receive lawsuits from the likes of Pittsburgh and Syracuse if they don't let them leave the conference a year early.
For more on the Pittsburgh Panthers, please check out Cardiac Hill.
An interesting sidenote to emerge from today's news that the Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange would be joining the Coastal and Atlantic Divisions of the ACC, respectively. According to ACC Commissioner John Swofford, neither school actually had a vote in the changes.
While the primary issue of when Syracuse and Pitt will arrive is unresolved, Swofford said "the good thing (is) we’ve been able to address the competition questions."
Officials frpm Syracuse and Pitt "were full participants (in the discussions)," Swofford said, "short of having a formal vote. They were fully agreeable and supportive of the end points."
It all worked out for the schools so there's nothing to complain about. However it reveals just how precarious a situation both schools find themselves in during the interim. The Big East has shunned both programs from votes and discussions that affect that conference and the ACC has yet to allow them to vote on conference matters there. The two schools are basically at the mercy of both conferences until they've officially left one for the other, and neither has too much incentive to favor the schools until then.
Nothing too drastic is likely to come of it, unless you assume that both schools will get screwed on the travel schedules while still in the Big East, but it's worth noting.
We're still a long way out from Pitt leaving the Big East and entering the ACC because of a long buyout period, but the Conference has already made plans for Pitt and Syracuse when they do get there. They offered a press release that says Pitt will be jointing the Coastal division of the ACC while Syracuse will be joining the Atlantic Division. It also has some details on what the Conference football schedule will look like.
When Pitt and Syracuse join the ACC, the league will play a nine-game conference schedule. The format will consist of each team playing all six in its division each year, plus its primary crossover partner each year and two rotating opponents from the opposite division. This six-year cycle allows each team to play each divisional opponent and its primary crossover partner six times (three home and three away) while also playing each rotating crossover opponent two times (one home and one away).
That means that Pitt will be in the division with Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina and Duke; meaning they will play each of those teams during every football season. The other teams will be incorporated as part of a rotating schedule.
The Big East will lose three of their premier teams in the coming years as Pittsburgh and Syracuse depart for the ACC and West Virginia bolts for the SEC. The only question left is when will they join their new conferences. The Conference calls for a 27-month exit plan for any school that wants to leave the conference, but in the age of instant gratification, that might be a little bit too long for any of these teams to wait.
But according to Matt Hayes at the Sporting News (via our Cardiac Hill), the Big East might just stick to their guns and force the three teams to wait out the 27 months, despite their attempts to leave the conference early.
A high-placed Big East source told Sporting News that not only will the Big East not back off its 27-month notice of withdrawal for West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse, but there’s “no chance” the three wayward universities can buy their way out of the contract – for any amount of money – and leave in time for the 2012 season.
“It’s not about money,” the Big East source said. “It never has been.”
Waiting a full two football seasons to leave the conference would be torture for these schools, and it would give the entire conference a lame duck feel for a couple of uncomfortable seasons. I understand that the Big East doesn't is a proud conference and doesn't want to lose these schools, but it will be interesting to see if they change their tune over the course of the next 27 or so months.
A Rhode Island court refused to dismiss the Big East's lawsuit against West Virginia on Tuesday. The conference is suing to force the university to honor its bylaws, which dictate a school must give 27 months notice before leaving for another athletic league. West Virginia announced earlier this fall that it plans to move its athletic teams to the Big XII beginning next school year.
"After due consideration, this Court denies Defendant's motion to dismiss on all grounds," court documents said. "This Court finds personal jurisdiction over WVU and sufficient service of process. Further, this Court declines to dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint on the basis of comity or the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Prevailing counsel may present an Order consistent herewith which shall be settled after due notice to counsel of record."
West Virginia is also suing the Big East for the right to leave the conference early, claiming the defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference have ruined the conference's viability and therefore made a move by West Virginia necessary.
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.
When it became clear that West Virginia was leaving the Big East for the Big 12 last week, WVU sent $2.5 million of its $5 million exit fee to the Big East, in what looked like a gesture of goodwill that would ease negotiations as WVU attempted to buy its way out of the Big East’s 27-month notification and start Big 12 play in 2012-13.
It looks like there isn’t much goodwill left, however, as WVU is suing the Big East, citing “ineffective leadership and breach of fiduciary duties” by the conference to its football schools. The departures of Syracuse, Pitt and TCU resulted in WVU and the other football schools being subject to the whims of the conference’s non-football schools, who for some reason get to vote on football matters. WVU is arguing that the Big East should have protected its football schools’ interests after Pitt, Syracuse and TCU left, but it did not do so. As a result, West Virginia says, the Big East is no longer “viable” as a football conference.
WVU argues that the Big East had a responsibility to maintain an even balance between football and non-football schools and to help the Big East maintain its status as a good football conference. After the departures of three of its schools, WVU says, it did not do that. Also, the Big East let TCU leave immediately without the 27-month waiting period, and WVU should be given the same privilege. Therefore, the 27-month wait should be void, and West Virginia should be allowed to leave right away.
There’s a more thorough breakdown at the link above, but that’s what I took from it. We’ll see how things shake out.
The Pittsburgh Panthers have asked out of their agreement to play the UCF Knights in 2012, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The Panthers were set to host UCF at Heinz Field on Sept. 8, 2012, but "asked to be released from the agreement," according to Knights athletic director Keith Tribble.
UCF was one of Pittsburgh's four non-conference games for 2012; it's also scheduled to play the Virginia Tech Hokies, Buffalo Bulls, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Perhaps the decision to call off the UCF game means Pittsburgh could be set to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2012, which would make the Virginia Tech game a conference game. Perhaps Pitt looked at UCF's 2011 season--the Knights are 4-4, including losses to the Florida International Golden Panthers and UAB Blazers--and decided it'd rather face a tougher opponent.
Whatever the case is, it's clear that plenty of teams will have to juggle their 2012 schedules as conference realignment continues.
Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports that the West Virginia Mountaineers, who are about to bolt the Big East for the Big 12 conference, are negotiating with the Big East about leaving the conference after this academic year.
WVU President on BE buyout: “Our team and their team are in discussions about how we make that happen.”
Some of the nuts and bolts of WVU’s departure are covered here, but essentially, the Big East requires a $5 million buyout, of which WVU has already paid $2.5 million. The problem is that even that the Big East requires that departing schools give 27 months notice, and West Virginia wants to leave the conference next summer. So the Mountaineers will have to negotiate an additional fee with the conference. Mike Casazza describes the $2.5 million payout the Mountaineers have already made as a sort of gesture of goodwill as they begin negotiations.
For more on WVU’s switch to the Big 12, head over to the Smoking Musket.
Mike Casazza and Jared Hunt of the Charleston Daily Mail have the details about how West Virginia plans to exit the Big East and enter the Big 12. WVU has already paid $2.5 million of its exit fee to the Big East. The exit fee is supposed to be $5 million, but WVU will presumably have to pay more if it plans to begin play in the Big 12 in 2012, as has been reported.
Casazza also has a note about head football coach Dana Holgorsen:
Safe to say a lot of people are curious how long Dana Holgorsen stays at WVU. I think it’s unfair to be having those conversations already, but people still wonder, and here, where coaches have, throughout football history, wandered, I can understand that. And given Dana’s ties to the Big 12, you might have worried about a return there or a reunion at Texas Tech or Oklahoma State.
Holgorsen’s contract isn’t done yet, but if WVU is in the Big 12, he probably won’t be allowed to leave West Virginia for another school in the conference. Some fans have wondered if Holgorsen might head to a higher-profile program within a few years, but given that the Big 12 is Holgorsen’s old stomping grounds, that might make a departure a bit less likely.
For more on WVU, check out the Smoking Musket.
As you’ve probably heard by now – on about five different posts here, and also elsewhere – West Virginia is set to join the Big 12 in the latest round of conference realignment. Now it also appears that WVU will be joining the Big 12 next year. At least that’s what the Big 12’s press release seems to assume:
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors have voted unanimously to accept West Virginia University as a full conference member effective July 1, 2012. The Mountaineers will begin competing in the Big 12 beginning with the 2012-13 athletic season.
I wasn’t sure what the press release was talking about, given that teams aren’t allowed to just leave the Big East like that. But it looks like both WVU and Pitt could pay a steeper exit fee to get to leave early (with WVU going to the Big 12, and Pitt to the ACC):
Multiple sources to BlueGoldNews.com: Pitt could exit Big East immediately for approximately $21 million; #WVU expects similar offer.
We’ll see how this shakes out, but the upshot is that WVU and Pitt could be playing in their new conferences in less than a year.
Via Dejan Kovacevic.
For the last week we've heard a lot of speculation and a ton of "sources say" about West Virginia leaving for the Big 12, but we got a pretty good report this morning, and now, confirmation that is as official as it gets.
And with that, West Virginia is officially out the door. What the Conference does now to replace them or possibly extend further remains to be seen, but this is not a good day for the Conference.
As for West Virginia, they have been thrown a life preserver from the Big East, and even though the Big 12 isn't the most stable situation, it sure is a lot better than the Big East.
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.
With the departure of West Virginia reportedly looming and with Pitt, Syracuse and TCU already having jumped ship, the Big East will move on, keeping Louisville and going with its previous plan to add Boise State and other new members, possibly including BYU.
The Big East wants to get to a 12-team football league and is expected to issue invitations to Boise State, Air Force, Navy, Houston, SMU and Central Florida. That would increase the membership to 11 teams …
With the loss of West Virginia, the Big East would need a 12th member. Sources have told CBSSports.com that the Big East’s potential Western schools are in favor of adding BYU. It’s unknown if the Cougars would be interested.
Temple also is another likely candidate.
It looks like the Big East will keep its BCS bid despite the departures of most of its highest-profile schools. What will happen beyond that is unclear at this point, except in that the conference will look very different in a few years than it does now. A “Big East” conference centered around the participation of western schools Boise State and BYU would be strange indeed.
For more on the Big East, check out Big East Coast Bias.
After all that, it appears that West Virginia is going to be joining the Big 12 after all. According to Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports, the Big 12 will invite West Virginia to join the conference, an invitation the school is sure to accept.
West Virginia has been invited to join the Big 12 Conference, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Friday. The Mountaineers will accept the invitation, sources said. The Big 12 is expected to officially announce the invitation later today.
Earlier this week this seemed like an inevitability, but then rumors began to come out that the conference was entertaining the idea of brining Louisville on board instead. That would have been a disaster for West Virginia, which would have then been left to drown with the sinking Big East.
But now they've been thrown a life preserver by the Big 12, and should succeed just fine in a conference that is more focused on football.
For more on the Mountaineers, check out The Smoking Musket.
I never thought I'd be writing about West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin in a post on SB Nation Pittsburgh, but here we are. The senator is threatening an investigation after reports that Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell helped stop West Virginia University's admittance into the Big 12.
The Times report said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had lobbied to the Big 12 on Louisville's behalf on Tuesday night, specifically to Oklahoma President David Boren, who is a former U.S. Senator, halting West Virginia's admittance to the Big 12.
Manchin said he hopes the report is not accurate and that the Big 12 is simply finishing its due diligence before officially accepting West Virginia.
There's definitely a good joke in here about how the only way to make the conference realignment process even sillier is to get U.S. Senators involved. If they do - or if they continue to - this story could drag on for quite a while.
For more on the WVU Mountaineers, check out the Smoking Musket.
Just as it appeared as though the West Virginia Mountaineers were set to leave the Big East for the Big 12 in order to replace the Missouri Tigers, the situation has changed. Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports the odds are now just "50-50" that WVU will be able to move, as the Big 12 is now considering taking the Louisville Cardinals instead.
West Virginia had been so close to joining the Big 12 that it had scheduled a joint news conference for Wednesday with representatives from the Big 12 to announce the move; it has since cancelled that conference, due to the fluidity of the situation. According to Thamel, the race between Louisville and WVU is "too close to call" at present.
Regardless of which school the Big 12 chooses, the result will be disastrous for the Big East, leaving it with only five football schools and thus jeopardizing its status as an automatic qualifying conference for the Bowl Championship Series; the Big East champion is assured a spot in either the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, or Orange Bowl.
For more on the WVU Mountaineers, check out the Smoking Musket.
At this time on Wednesday, we thought that West Virginia's move to the Big 12 was all but a done deal. We even had a story with that headline. But now there seems to be a "snag" in that plan, and according to the Metro News of West Virginia, that snag could be a late push by Louisville to take West Virginia's place as the Big 12's replacement for Louisville.
The Dominion Post's Drew Rubenstein reports that there was a "late push" by the University of Louisville to be considered instead of WVU. "Sources used terms like ‘volatile' and ‘internal battle' to describe the conference realignment with the Big 12," Rubenstein reported. Last night, WVU called off preliminary plans for a press conference today.
This whole thing is starting to become a little ridiculous. West Virginia was all but in the Big 12, now the Conference may choose to take Louisville instead. Honestly, when will the wheels just stop turning on all of this realignment stuff and we can get back to the games themselves?
The Big East is on life support right now. They've lost arguably their three biggest football schools this season, and as we all know, football is the sport that drives the money train. The future of the conference is looking more and more grim by the day. According to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that future may be as part of a super conference with the Mountain West and Conference USA.
Commissioners from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA are scheduled to meet with the head of the Big East Conference today to discuss the formation of one 28- to 32-football team super conference in an effort to gain automatic Bowl Championship Series status.The Mountain West and Conference USA already have agreed to merge by either next year or in 2013.
This feels a little bit desperate to me, but that might just be where we are with this whole thing now. And what would we even name it? The logistics of travel and schedulign would be a nightmare, so I'd be surprised if this goes through.
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.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are headed for the Big 12 as long as the Missouri Tigers go to the SEC. We found that out this morning, but the news continues to pour in, and we are starting to get some more details on the Mountaineers potential move. According to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, the Mountaineers have already applied to join the Big 12 and have already been accepted.
West Virginia is headed to the Big 12, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, a move that leaves the Big East with five football programs and an uncertain future. The person said Tuesday that the Mountaineers had “applied and are accepted,” leaving only legal entanglements from making the move official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been formally announced.
According to Brett McMurphy of CBS, once Missouri leaves for the SEC, the invitation to join the Big 12 could come within a matter of days.
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 rumors have been gaining steam for a while now, and now it looks like West Virginia will abandon the Big East and join the Big 12 after all. According to Lenn Robbins of the New York Post, West Virginia will join the Big 12 after Missouri leaves to join the SEC after next year. That would leave the Big East with just four teams that play FBS level football.This could be the biggest blow to the Big East in a season of pretty big ones.
"Of all the schools the league has lost, from a football standpoint losing West Virginia would be the most damaging," a source told The Post. "Despite what anyone says, that's the program the league has hung its hat on."
All of this is contingent, of course, on Missouri ultimately leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC. According to that same article, the Big 12 met recently and Missouri will likely stay in the Conference for an additional year. But that doesn't mean that they no longer want to join the Conference and they still might do it eventually. If and when that happens, West Virginia will reportedly be the school that replaces them in the Big 12.
We'll have plenty more on this situation as it develops, but for more on West Virginia football, head over to The Smoking Musket.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that West Virginia will be the top candidate to replace Missouri in the Big 12. The article quotes an official at a Big 12 school who sounds very enthusiastic about the possible addition of WVU, citing travel as the only reason the Mountaineers might not be a good fit.
"I’d say West Virginia is the leader in the clubhouse. I think we’ll come out better than before. I’d rather be with someone who wants to be with our conference than anybody who doesn’t."
Asked why the Big 12 would be upgraded, the official said, "West Virginia has better football than Missouri, better basketball than Missouri, a better budget than Missouri and more passion among its fans than Missouri. They’re better, anyway you turn ‘em. The travel’s not good (to Morgantown, W. Va) but that’s it."
Another Big East, Louisville, would be a possible contender, but Louisville’s football program isn’t as strong as WVU’s. Another Big 12 official quoted in the article, however, prefers Louisville, because of the difference in travel and because of WVU’s academic reputation. So WVU to the Big 12 isn’t a done deal.
The loss of WVU would be another blow to a Big East conference that has already lost Pitt, Syracuse and TCU.
West Virginia is the latest school to get caught up in the conference realignment talk and according to the latest report the Mountaineers could be a Big 12 target. Andy Katz of ESPN reports that West Virginia is the favorite over BYU on the conference's preference list if Missouri bolts to another conference, which looks likely at this point.
A source with direct knowledge of the Big 12's expansion plans told ESPN.com's Andy Katz Saturday that West Virginia holds a slight edge over BYU on the conference's preference list if the league loses Missouri. But the source was quick to say that it was a fluid situation and the order could change quickly.
Katz also reports that the Big 12 could shoot for a 10 team league for now while they weigh the pros and cons of a 10 team league versus a 12 team league.
For more on Smoking Musket. football, check out the
The Big East is in a pretty bad state of flux right now, and the endgame is not completely clear. What is clear is that in a few years the Conference could look totally different than they do now. Nobody knows for sure why the conferences shift like this every few years, but UConn women's head coach Geno Auriemma thinks that Notre Dame, and their unwillingness to join the Big East as a football team, is to blame for the Conferences current problems. Check out some of the comments he made on Thursday, via Andrea Adelson of ESPN.
"They've been in our league 17 years, so how long are we going to date before we just decide this ain't working. And I'm not happy about it," Auriemma said at the conference's annual women's basketball media day Thursday. "That's not the opinion of the University of Connecticut, the Big East Conference. ... That's just Geno Auriemma's opinion...
If Notre Dame had come in as a football and basketball school when they came in, we wouldn't have a problem. Miami wouldn't have left. Virginia Tech wouldn't have left. Boston College wouldn't have left. We probably wouldn't have any of these issues, would we?"
Those are some pretty strong words from a guy who is never hesitant to speak his mind. I kind of think Auriemma is right here. Notre Dame would make the Big East an immediately recognizable football Conference, even if their depth wasn't great. And like he said, maybe those other teams wouldn't have left for the ACC when they did. Maybe it isn't Notre Dame's fault entirely, but they certainly seem like part of the problem at the very least.
The Big East Conference has a fairly customary 27-month exit process that requires schools to wait for over two years before joining a new conference after they've made that decision. It's a pretty long lame-duck period for a school that already knows it's future and the Conference that needs to make alternate plans while it can. If Pittsburgh and Syracuse were to adhere to this mandate, they wouldn't be able to join the ACC until 2014, which is an awfully long time for these teams and both conferences to wait.
However in the case of Pitt and Syracuse, that may not be the case. According to Jack Lambert of the Business Journal, Pittsburgh and Syracuse may not be forced to hold out for 27 months before joining the ACC.
Anderson said on Wednesday that he does not envision the process taking the full 27 months. He said the Big East has asked both Pittsburgh and Syracuse to stop coming to conference meetings and that the conference has signaled to their partners that “the transition could be sooner.”
There's really no reason to keep these teams in the Big East longer than they need to be there. Obviously the 2011-12 season is already underway, but if they can get the red-tape out of the way I don't see why they can't join the new Conference as early as next year. It would be good for the ACC and both schools obviously, and it would give the Big East a chance to move on quickly.
The Big East Conference voted unanimously on Tuesday to raise its exit fee to $10 million according to a press release. The fee increase will be triggered by expansion expected in the near future as the league also said it is pursuing a 12-team football model moving forward.
Big East commissioner Johm Marinatto lauded the news.
"This development is a significant step forward, as well as a positive demonstration and acknowledgement of the continued benefits of being in the BIG EAST Conference," said Marinatto. "It sends a message to those institutions we are talking to about joining us. In addition, our members have given us their support to move towards a 12-team football model. Each of our member schools is behind this effort, and we are confident we can achieve it. We hope to have an announcement soon concerning new members."
This move would appear to lock West Virginia into the Big East for the foreseeable future, unless it makes a surprise move to a new conference before the conference is able to expand. It also looks like the Big East plans to hold Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the two teams defecting from the conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference, to the 27-month withdrawal period as ESPN.com's Joe Schad tweets.
Marinatto says Pitt and 'Cuse still will be held to 27 month notice despite any expansion execution
That would keep Pitt in the Big East through the 2013 athletic season.
The Charleston Gazette reports that the West Virginia Mountaineers appear likely to vote to increase the conference’s exit fee from $5 million to $10 million.
WVU sources confirmed to the Gazette Monday afternoon that, barring any unforeseen developments during the call, the school will cast its vote to double the fee. That would be a clear signal that WVU is committed to rebuilding the conference.
If the proposal passes, the Big East then believes it would be on better footing to go ahead with expansion plans that include inviting six new schools to join — Boise State, Navy and Air Force as football-only members and Central Florida, Houston and SMU for all sports.
The Big East has had more than its share of problems recently, with the departures of Pitt, Syracuse and TCU, and a few weeks ago it looked like the Big East might even fall apart completely as a football conference. The additions of these new schools, and particularly Boise State, would really change things, however, and make it possible for WVU to continue playing in the conference and still have a national presence.
This should put to rest any rumors of the Mountaineers heading to the SEC or some other conference. It looks they’ll be staying with the Big East for the time being. Mike Casazza notes that a vote to increase the exit fee doesn't necessarily preclude WVU from leaving later, but it does make them unlikely to leave immediately.
For more on WVU football, check out the Smoking Musket.
Following the departures of Syracuse, Pitt and TCU, the Big East plans to invite six more schools to join up, the New York Post reports.
Once the exit fee is increased, which would send a message of commitment and solidarity, the league will invite Air Force, Navy and Boise State, followed by Central Florida, possibly as soon as this weekend.
The last two spots, as the league seeks to get to 12 FBS members, is up for grabs among three programs — Houston, SMU and Temple.
Boise State would obviously be a great addition, although it’s a pretty ridiculous one from a geographical standpoint. UCF gives the Big East access to the Orlando market. As the Smoking Musket points out, Temple doesn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense, since with Villanova, the Big East already has a presence in Philadelphia. With the addition of Boise State and possibly Houston and SMU, the Big East will be building a conference that doesn’t really have any geographical rooting anymore, but it should continue to be a BCS conference, so it might not be too horrible for West Virginia to stick around.
The Texas Christian Horned Frogs, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Syracuse Orange have all left the Big East in recent weeks, leaving the West Virginia Mountaineers as the conference's lone credible football program. In response to the departures of Pitt and Syracuse, Big East commissioner John Marinatto endeavored to make the process of leaving the conference much more expensive.
According to Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com, Marinatto proposed to the chancellors and presidents of member schools increasing the Big East withdrawal fee "to between about $17 million and $20 million," which is more than triple the current fee of $5 million. However, the chancellors and presidents rejected Marinatto's proposal.
As McMurphy notes, the negative response to the suggestion "is another challenge to the league trying to survive the departure of TCU, Pittsburgh and Syracuse." Should the quality of the Big East continue to erode, it might behoove West Virginia to consider following its former rivals.
The Big East suffered another huge blow on Monday when the TCU board of trustees voted unanimously to join the Big 12 in 2012, not the Big East. Now the Big East is scrambling to find new members even more vigorously than they were before the Horned Frogs spurned them; and they were already pretty desperate. According to Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the conference is interested in adding some football exclusive schools like Army, Navy, Air Force, Boise St. and Central Florida.
The Big East said earlier Monday it will engage in formal discussions with several schools and consider "moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools."
It was about a week ago that we found out that TCU might be leaving the Big East (which they never actually got the opportunity to officially join) and opt to join the Big 12 instead. Now, according to Angela K. Brown of the AP, that move has been made official thanks to a unanimous vote by the School's board of trustees; and a pretty emotional one at that, apparently.
TCU's board of trustees unanimously voted Monday to accept the Big 12's invitation to join, a move athletic director Chris Del Conte compared to arriving at "the promised land" in the wake of the university's disappointments through the years. "This is living proof that dreams do come true," Del Conte said Monday night, fighting back tears. "We worked so hard to be here."
This is another huge blow to the Big East, and a pretty good sign for the Big 12 which were hurting themselves. This doesn't save the Conference, not by a long shot, but it does help. As for the Big East, this is another huge blow to a Conference that does not appear to have a very bright future.
To many outsiders, the ACC's move to add Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the fold appeared to be strictly a basketball move. The argument does have some credence, as the football prowess of the two schools has slipped considerably from the early-mid 2000's, when Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech bolted from the Big East. But according to a new article from the Boston Globe, that may not be the case.
While Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo does admit that adding the schools will enhance the conference's basketball pedigree, some viewed it as a predatory strike to re-capture basketball superiority. Not true, says DeFilipo, who insists the expansion had nothing to do with basketball.
"We always keep our television partners close to us. You don't get extra money for basketball. It's 85 percent football money. TV -- ESPN -- is the one who told us what to do. This was football; it had nothing to do with basketball."
DeFilipo suggests, as many analysts have, that the ACC's action was about being proactive and preemting any move made by the Big 12, Big 10 or the Big East to expand. Pittsburgh had been listed as a target by the Big 12, and the move to add the two schools ensured the ACC would continue to exist as a conference. DeFilippo added that the moves were also geographically-motivated.
"We wanted new playmates and we wanted Eastern playmates. When the Big 12 inquired about Pittsburgh, we asked, Why let them come into our area?"
This has been reaffirmed on several occasions, not so much by what the ACC has said or done, but by what they have not done. For instance, Texas was in discussions to join the ACC, but was demanding for the ACC to also bring along Texas Tech or to create a western pod so that they wouldn't be so geographically out of place and by themselves. The ACC balked at the idea, not only because Texas Tech's poor academic standing relative to the ACC, but also because the geography just didn't work.
As for future expansion, the ACC has pretty much muddied the water. ACC Commissioner John Swofford has said that he is both open to expanding and happy with where the conference is at with 14. It may be a while before we know for sure.
Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports that TCU is about to leave the Big East behind.
Just got word that TCU is on the cusp of leaving the Big East. League administrators advised schools of this in an e-mail this morning.
The mess just gets worse – Pitt and Syracuse are gone, and now it appears that TCU is about to leave as well (to the Big 12, it sounds like - the school will pay the Big East $5 million), deciding to depart before ever playing a game with the conference. I can’t believe there won’t be more fallout from this, and we’ll see if that fallout includes West Virginia departing as well. There have been internet rumors over the past few days of WVU heading to the SEC, but so far, those rumors appear to be wishful thinking on the part of WVU fans more than anything else.
In any case, the Big East’s clout as a football conference will be just about gone if TCU leaves, if it ever had any clout to begin with. West Virginia is just about the only school left that gives the Big East much value as a football conference. The departures of Pitt and Syracuse may trigger an avalanche here. This is very bad news for the Big East.
For more on the Big East, check out Big East Coast Bias.
The Big East is still reeling from the departures of Pitt and Syracuse and the rumored departure of even more schools. They are looking at teams that could fill those empty spots in the conference, one such school could be Temple. As our Pitt blog Cardiac Hill notes, Louisville Cardinal head coach Rick Pitino thinks the Owls could be a good fit.
"To me, Temple’s perfect," the Louisville coach told SNY.tv during an exclusive interview Tuesday at Hudson Catholic High School, which he was visiting on a recruiting trip. "They were already in the Big East. They are an excellent football program right now. They should’ve beaten Penn State. They blew out Maryland, who beats Miami. They’re 3-1
It's odd that Pitino is pointing to the football success for Temple as a reason for their inclusion, but only because he is a Basketball coach. The Owls have been impressive this year on the gridiron, and they would be a good fit in the Big East for both basketball and football. But, as has been the case all along with this conference realignment thing, things are never quite as simple as they seem.
But -- and this is a big one -- [Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk] wanted the league to get its house in order before coming to any decision ...
"I think right now I'd be more comfortable making certain they're comfortable with themselves, and they've got a little bit of work to do."
If it's going to be joining the conference, Navy wants to make sure that schools like West Virginia, UConn and Rutgers will remain. With Pitt and Syracuse now gone, and with rumors about other teams leaving, it seems like no one is rushing in to take their place, and coaches are now voicing criticism of Big East commissioner John Marinatto.
For more on the Big East, be sure to check out Big East Coast Bias.
West Virginia University athletic director has released the following statement regarding the meeting he attended last night in New York City with other Big East officials:
President Clements and I represented West Virginia University at last night’s BIG EAST meeting in New York. The group concluded the meeting with a strategy to recruit top level BCS-caliber institutions that match the league’s strong athletic and academic histories and traditions.
As I stated before, WVU is an excellent flagship, land-grant University, with national-caliber athletic and academic programs. We are, and will remain, a national player in college athletics.
The conference office will coordinate any further discussion on this issue.
What does that mean? Not much. It tells WVU fans not to worry, because WVU will always be relevant regardless of where the Mountaineers land. What is interesting is that it DOES NOT include a great vote of confidence towards the current conference. The ’Eers have played football for over a hundred years, that will continue. Where? Only time will tell.
The Big East Conference recently lost Pitt and Syracuse, and it might lose more schools by the time all is said and done, but the conference vowed to stay together at a meeting in New York Tuesday night.
[Big East commissioner John] Marinatto said all the league's members - including Notre Dame and the seven other non-football members - are committed to aggressively recruiting replacements for Syracuse and Pittsburgh, though he would not indicate which schools are candidates.
One recent report suggested that the Big East might be courting Navy and Air Force, which would be a massive downgrade from Pitt and Syracuse. If that's the sort of thing the Big East has planned here, then schools like West Virginia might, in fact, be better off following Pitt's lead and leaving.
Marinatto also said that he will exercise his right to require Pitt and Syracuse to stay in the Big East until 2014, so there isn't necessarily any urgency to add schools right away.
For more on the Big East, check out Big East Coast Bias.
It's been a wild and crazy past several months of change and reported change across the college landscape. We're not done yet either. The big news coming out of the wacky world of conference alignment this past weekend was the announcement that Pittsburgh and Syracuse would be joining the ACC beginning in 2012. Pitt hoops coach Jamie Dixon as you might expect is taking the news in stride and not overreacting to the upcoming change and what it might mean to his program. On Monday, Dixon joined 93.7 The Fan o talk about moving to the ACC, why he doesn't think that the Panthers' recruiting efforts in New York will be affected by the transition, how the Panthers will deal with the change in style of play in the ACC compared to the Big East, and how new rivalries will be created provided the Panthers continue to win a lot of games like they have done in the Big East.
On the recent Sports Illustrated column that said that Pitt hoops would suffer from not being able to easily recruit kids from New York and the other major east coast cities by virtue of their association with the Big East:
"I actually read that article, there was a lot more to that article than just that line, but I mean, there’s still planes, there’s still flights going into New York, D.C., Philly — we’re going to be in there. And hopefully we’re still going to be playing there. I’ll just have to see how it all falls out here in the near future with the rest of the league to see if there’s any more movement. But the reality of it is BC is the conference, Virginia Tech, Miami — former Big East teams — and then now with Syracuse in the league, there’s five of the 14 and there could be some others. So once it all settles, it won’t be quite as much change as it may seem initially."
If he’s concerned about the potential loss of rivalry games with schools like UCONN and, of course, West Virginia:
"Yeah, I’ve talked about that before. We’ve got some great rivalries, but we became rivals with Marquette once they joined. They think of us as their rival, Louisville thinks of us as a rival. Rivalries start back up, and rivalries will be reignited and renewed when you talk about BC, Virginia Tech, Syracuse will continue obviously, and then we’ll see where this thing goes as it plays out. But we seem to end up speculating on these things so much before they’re completed or before they even happen, so let’s see how this thing finishes out. But you know, I think if we win games, we’ll have plenty of rivalries. And that’s kind of what happened in the Big East. When you have the best record in the conference, people tend to look as you as a rival, and that game becomes a little bit more important to them. So we need to win games first and foremost, and we’ll pick up plenty of rivals real quick."
CBS’ Brett McMurphy tweets that the West Virginia Mountaineers won’t be joining either the SEC or the ACC.
Multiple Big East sources said they have been told by WVU officials that WVU rejected by ACC & SEC
Not that this is terribly surprising, but it should still come as sobering news for WVU fans. The university finds itself in a quandary with the departures of Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East. The Big East, depending on what form it takes in the coming years, could wind up being almost barren for football. But due to various factors (that WVU is in a small state and doesn’t have clout in any major markets, and so on), WVU isn’t much of a draw for conferences like the ACC and SEC who can potentially add new teams. West Virginia needs to find a new conference, but finding a good one won’t be at all easy.
Thanks to Team Speed Kills for the link.
For more on the West Virginia Mountaineers, check out the Smoking Musket.
Now that Pitt and Syracuse are headed to the ACC, other schools have discussed potential moves as well. That could effectively kill the Big East and leave a handful of football-playing schools out in the cold. But another option is now being floated out there - could the remaining Big East schools merge to create a new conference with the remaining Big 12 schools should that conference implode? I think this is a strong possibility and one that makes the most sense for all involved.
Now, as I wrote over at Cardiac Hill, such a move would be determined largely on what Texas and Oklahoma do. If they stay in the Big 12, the merger isn't likely to happen. It would make more since for the Big 12 to try to add a few teams than it would for them to merge with a dying Big East. But if the Longhorns and Sooners bolt for the Pac 12 or some other conference, then it would make all the sense in the world.
Remaining teams most expected to be on the outside looking in include Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, and South Florida. TCU, somewhat of a wild card, should be in play as well as it would make sense for them to stay put as a Big East team. That only makes six teams, but the new conference could try to keep a few schools such as Louisville, Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri from bolting. After that, by adding a few more teams from non AQ conferences (i.e. BYU, Houston, Tulsa, East Carolina, etc.), the new league could be underway.
Lots would need to be done for this to happen, but it could be a strong possibility.
Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon has changed his tune on the question of leaving the Big East behind now that the Panthers have departed for the ACC. In 2009, Dixon expressed opposition to the idea of changing conferences. Now, though?
"We realized it was time," Dixon said. "If not us, it was going to be somebody else. I think we can all agree on that."
Speaking with reporters Monday at the UPMC football practice facility on the South Side, Dixon said he supported the move.
"I've always felt that if we were to move conferences," he said, "that the ACC would be the conference."
The breakup of the Big East will surely be a sadder one for the basketball team than it will be for football. Last year's Big East was truly a powerhouse basketball conference. But it's not as if the ACC will be chopped liver whenever the conference switch takes hold. In addition to Duke, North Carolina and Pitt, there's also Syracuse, and possibly also national-champion UConn.
Speaking of which, Dixon suggests that there will be other former Big East schools joining Pitt and Syracuse in the ACC.
"We're going to have a lot of Big East schools that are going to be with us in the ACC," he said. "In some ways, it's almost going to be a north former Big East ... when we get to that point."
For more on Pitt, check out Cardiac Hill.
With the departures of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC, the West Virginia Mountaineers may be looking for a new home. The SEC has come up as a potential destination. But Outkick The Coverage has a piece on why the WVU wouldn’t be a good fit for the SEC.
Chief among them is the fact that West Virginia is a small state with a population that isn’t increasing. WVU therefore wouldn’t help the SEC move into a new or expanding market. On top of that, the SEC isn’t desperate to add teams, and should be more attractive options, particularly from the Big 12, if the SEC does want to add. Also, West Virginia is on probation right now.
So … we’ll see. WVU to the SEC would be terrific for the Mountaineers, but it may be a reach. Either way, it’s crucial that WVU find a viable conference and not wind up in a revamped Big East that’s filled with leftovers, or something like that.
Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail reports that, in the wake of the departures of Pitt and Syracuse, West Virginia is trying to decide what to do.
“I believe things will be all right,” said Drew Payne, chair of WVU’s Board of Governors. “How it’s going to end up, how it’s going to come down, I don’t think we know what that will be, but we will be in one of the major conferences that survive.”
Casazza says that the Mountaineers have been in contact with the ACC and SEC about a potential conference switch. The ACC seems unlikely, but the SEC is a possibility, Casazza reports. WVU could also stay with the Big East if the conference makes up for the impending departures with new additions, such as Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, or other Big 12 teams.
We’ll see how things shake out. The only good news here, from WVU’s perspective, is that whatever happens, the competition in football can hardly do anything but get better.
For more on the Big East, check out Big East Coast Bias.
The Trib has more details on the Pitt Panthers’ impending move to the ACC, which could find them playing in the new conference as soon as next academic year.
Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said a Big East-mandated 27-month waiting period against schools that leave the conference could be waived.
“I would think in the weeks ahead everyone will be looking at the transition period and trying to determine whether that 27 months’ notice really serves everyone’s best interests and whether there would be a modification to it,” he said. “The ACC would be comfortable with waiting that period of time if that, indeed, is how things unfold.”
Big East Associate Commissioner John Paquette suggested that the Big East might issue a response to Pitt and Syracuse’s departures on Monday.
Also, the Trib quotes Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson saying that Pitt will consider continuing its annual game against West Virginia.
For more on Pitt, check out Cardiac Hill.
Now that Pittsburgh and Syracuse have jumped the Big East ship to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, it looks like at least one school wants to ride their coattails.
ESPN's Andy Katz and Joe Schad have the scoop.
UConn president Susan Herbst is aggressively pursuing membership in the ACC to become the 15th or 16th member institution in the conference, according to a source with direct knowledge of UConn's situation.
According to the source, Herbst was having conversations recently but in light of Pittsburgh's and Syracuse's defections from the Big East, the talks have accelerated in the last 48 hours.
This really shouldn't come as much of a surprise, since the seven remaining Big East football schools are now scrambling to find stable homes without two staples like the Panthers and Orange in the mix, and in terms of profile, Connecticut is probably the school that fits in best with both the two schools that have already defected.
The Huskies have a strong reputation in basketball and its football program has made great strides in recent years, earning the Big East's automatic BCS bid a year ago when they went to the Fiesta Bowl against Okalahoma. For this reason, administrators likely think they can make the same argument to the ACC that Pitt and Syracuse did to secure their future as NCAA conference realignment continues.
Thee ACC has accepted Pitt and Syracuse as new members of their conference, the Trib reports. The move might have seemed to come out of nowhere in the news the past couple of days, but the Big East should have known about the possibility for a while.
[Pitt chancellor Mark A.] Nordenberg said he warned Big East Commissioner John Marinatto in writing in May, 2010, that the university would “seriously access” other opportunities.
“Any university leader involved in intercollegiate athletics really has two fundmamental responsibilities,” Nordenberg said …
“Second is to be appropriately attentive to the changing landscape and institutional opportunities that might need to be pursued. We also have been attentive to that responsibility.”
And with that, and the payment of a $5 million exit fee, Pitt and Syracuse are gone. It’s unclear how this will affect the Big East, although Nordenberg suggests that other schools will probably also leave.
For more on Pitt sports, check out Cardiac Hill.
In case you were looking for further proof that Pitt and Syracuse could be ACC bound, Coach K gave some interesting comments today:
“It’s actually pretty exciting,” Krzyzewski said. "I think it’s great for our conference football-wise, even better basketball-wise. Wherever this is going to end up, four big-time conferences or five, whatever it is, you want to be perceived as No. 1 in football and basketball.
“The last few years the ACC has lost some of that but over the last 25 years if you had to pick the best conference in basketball it is the ACC. Lately, it hasn’t been that. It’s been a really good conference. But to me this is in some ways a coup for basketball.”
As I mentioned in my recap over at Cardiac Hill, for a coach of Krzyzewski’s stature to be speaking so openly about the move makes it seem like this has to be a done deal. No way would he putting himself out on a limb like this if he wasn’t sure it was going to happen. Other coaches, such as Jim Boeheim, have offered the more, standard response, essentially saying that he doesn’t know anything.
The fact that Coach K has been so open about it means this is likely turning into a mere formality.
With the apparent Pitt and Syracuse moves to the ACC, word is starting to trickle out from the Big East. There are some saying the move is definite and Louisville Cardinals athletic director Tom Jurich appears to be one of them.
And he doesn’t sound all that happy about it:
Jurich said he was surprised that the two teams are leaving, especially Pittsburgh because Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg is the guy who hired Marinatto and is also the leader who had the responsibility of looking out for the league’s future.
Jurich said he believed it was a done deal that the two schools were gone.
Jurich said he was not certain what Pitt brought to the ACC.
Let’s face it – this really came out of nowhere. Sure, we’ve heard a gaggle of rumors over the past few months – Pitt to the Big 12, Pitt to the ACC, Pitt staying put, Pitt to the B1G … but never anything that was ‘imminent.’
It’s expected that there are going to be bad feelings out of this. You could even make the argument that Pitt might be hated more than than the original defectors (Miami, Boston College, and Virginia Tech) because the Panthers were out in front of trying to save the conference. But in the end, Pitt, like every other school, has to do what’s best for themselves.
Chip Brown tweets that Pitt and Syracuse will soon be joining the ACC.
Big 12 administrator tells Orangebloods.com Syracuse and Pitt will be announced as 13th and 14th members of the #ACC on Sunday.
It’s wild that this has happened so fast. This move will have tremendous implications not only for the Pitt program, but for the future of the Big East, which hadn’t exactly been a football powerhouse in the past couple of years anyway.
The overall quality of football in the ACC is obviously higher, and Pitt will need to step up its game. The quality of basketball is lower – the ACC has Duke and North Carolina, and now Syracuse as well, but it’s not nearly as deep as last year’s Big East.
After this becomes official, we’ll see how this affects Pitt’s rivalry with West Virginia. In the meantime, though, it certainly looks like the Big East will be changing.
For more on Pitt sports, check out Cardiac Hill.
Talks of Pitt and Syracuse going to the ACC are quickly gaining steam. After word broke last night that the Panthers and Orange could be headed there, news came that both schools have actually already applied for membership:
The Atlantic Coast Conference has been approached by at least 10 schools about possible membership, a group that includes the Big East’s Pitt and Syracuse, both of which have tendered letters of application, a high-ranking ACC official said Saturday morning.
If both schools have indeed applied for membership, this has been in the works for longer than we knew. You’ve also got to think that if both schools are putting themselves out there like this, that they’re fairly confident they’d be accepted. If the deal fell through, Pitt and Syracuse would then have to go back to the conference with egg on their faces.
I don’t want to say this is a done deal, but it’s hard to see this not happening with this moving as fast as they are.
Heather Dinich of ESPN writes that an ACC official has confirmed that Pitt and Syracuse have applied to join the ACC. The ACC is apparently serious about adding more schools, and it has taken schools from the Big East in the past:
Another ACC source confirmed the addition of teams is not only valid, but a very real possibility. ACC officials have declined to comment, and no sources were aware of a timetable.
This is familiar territory for the ACC, which raided the Big East before to add Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to get to its current 12-member format. Should it happen again, this move would likely be even far more difficult for the Big East to overcome.
Obviously, many hurdles must be cleared before Pitt or Syracuse leave, but if they do, it would mark an enormous change for Pitt. It would also be a very tough spot for West Virginia, which would either have to move to a new conference or figure out how to proceed in a watered-down one that would no longer feature its biggest rival.
Anson Whaley will give his reaction to the news later in this storystream. In the meantime, check out Cardiac Hill (Pitt), The Smoking Musket (West Virginia) and Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician (Syracuse).
In this latest round of NCAA conference realignment, the headlines have been saved for schools considering moves from one conference to another.
Tuesday, Baylor decided to throw a wrench in that...big time.
Before the SEC's member presidents voted to accept Texas A&M as the conference's 13th member Tuesday night, Baylor decided to pull back its approval of the Aggies defection, a move that could slow a potential seismic shift in the college sports landscape.
The SEC's presidents want assurances that no individual Big 12 school will sue for contractual interference over Texas A&M's departure. Baylor has not given that assurance to this point, according to sources.
"We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action," University of Florida president and SEC chairman Dr. Bernie Machen said in a statement released Wednesday. "The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. "
Roughly translated, get ready for the lawyers to get involved here.
From the perspective of potential Big XII expansion targets like Pitt and West Virginia, this news pretty much assures there will be little movement on that front for a while. Before the Big XII can start talking to other programs, it needs to straighten things out with the members it has first. At this point in time, the conference can't convince Texas A&M to stay, nor, apparently, can it convince Baylor to let the Aggies go. Something will have to give there before the conference can move forward with expansion, or even keeping potential defoctors like Texas and Oklahoma from jumping ship in Pac-12 expansion.
In the event that Texas, Oklahoma and others defect from the Big XII for the Pac-12 in the coming days and weeks, it looks like the Big East will react and try to collect schools from the collapsed Big XII to solidify its position in NCAA conference realignment. Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports the Big East has opened a dialogue with Big XII school not flirting with the Pac-12.
A high-ranking college official did say Sunday that the Big East had reached out to multiple Big 12 universities and indicated, much as it did during the Texas-Pac-12 expansion talks last year, that the league would be interested in taking the universities if the Big 12 fell apart. The official said the Big East was not rooting for the demise of the Big 12, but opened up lines of communication in case it dissolved.
Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State would be the three most obvious potential Big East targets. While none are exactly football powerhouses, if all three came along, it would bring the number of Big East football members to 12 and allow the league to start a lucrative football championship game. In basketball, what is already a strong Big East field would become even stronger. Kansas is obviously a huge name in college hoops and both Kansas State and Missouri have fielded solid teams in recent years as well.
All this, and the move would also bring in Midwest TV markets including Kansas City and St. Louis to the Big East footprint, which also means more money for the conference.
If you're a Pitt or West Virginia fan, this scenario is obviously preferable to a potential jump to the Big XII. It ensures the basketball programs will continue to have a top conference in which to thrive and adds respectability to a football conference that's currently thought of as second-tier.
Stay tuned, though. As Thamel points out, every realignment scenario currently revolves around what Texas decides to do. Until the Longhorns make a move, talk of the Big East expanding or the Big XII poaching Pitt and West Virginia is just talk.
Since Oklahoma president David Boren announced his school was considering options outside of the Big XII on Friday, feelings that the Pac-12 could be moving toward expansion once again have been gaining momentum. Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, however, reports some might be trying to put the brakes on a move by Texas to the Pac-12.
Legislators and statewide office holders have swung into high-pressure mode to get Texas president Bill Powers and athletic director DeLoss Dodds to slow down any decision that might involve the Longhorns joining the Pac-12, multiple sources said Sunday.
With reports surfacing that Oklahoma is all but ready to commit to the Pac-12, Texas lawmakers are so concerned about the Longhorns possibly following suit that a full-court press is being made to slow things down by elected officials and corporate CEOs with influence, sources said.
This is a development Pitt fans might want to take note of. If the Texas legislature is going to make moves to keep the Big XII in place, that's a step toward the stability Pitt would need in considering a move to the Big XII. That's not to say the Big XII is exactly a good fit for Pitt. Geographically, it'd be an awful fit, and it would be a real pain for non-revenue sports to make regular trips to Texas and other southern states. That said, if the Big XII could offer substantially bigger revenue than the Big East and some long-term stability, Pitt brass might have to take a look.
As the wheels of NCAA conference realignment continue to turn, it's beginning to look like the Pac-12 will expand long before the Big XII. If Pitt were to make a move to the Big XII, Texas and Oklahoma would likely have to stay put in that conference, and at the moment, it's looking like that's an uncertain proposition at best.
The concept of the Pac-16 is again being discussed by Pac-12 officials as well as officials at Oklahoma and Texas, a source close to the situation told ESPN's Joe Schad.
The source said the pair of Big 12 schools know the opportunity to join the Pac-12 is their decision. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech could also join the proposed Pac-16, according to the source.
In short, if something like this were to come to fruition, there would likely be no Big XII for Pitt to join. Rather, the Big East might look to absorb some teams left over by the collapse of the Big XII including Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. Of course, we're still a long way off from that happening, but when Pac-12 expansion was being discussed last summer, the Big East scenario is one many found a possibility in the event of the Big XII going under. If we're picking where we left off there, expect this concept to get some play.
Oklahoma president David Boren threw NCAA conference realignment speculation into high gear on Friday when he announced his school is weighing its options with regards to either staying in the Big XII or heading to another conference.
Late Friday, Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com added fuel to the fire.
When I texted a key source close to Texas Friday night if the Longhorns were preparing to head to the Pac-12 with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, the source texted back, "Leaning that way." The source later said there was a "50 to 60 percent" chance those schools would end up in the Pac-12.
Needless to say, things don't look good for the Big XII, and certainly not for Pitt's chances of heading there as a replacement for Texas A&M. If Texas and Oklahoma aren't serious about trying to make that league work, Pitt shouldn't be either, and should quickly dismiss any suggestion of jumping the Big East ship for the uncertainty that reigns in Big XII country.
On Wednesday, Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman wrote that with Texas A&M leaving the Big XII, other schools might soon follow suit and accelerate the decline of that conference. Now, it looks like Oklahoma is weighing its options after comments by school president David Boren on Friday.
"Of course, we have some great partners in the existing Big 12. We have interest from other conferences and other universities, so it's really a tribute to the strength of our program at the University of Oklahoma that there is so much interest in us," Boren said.
"So, we have to carefully evaluate the various comments that are being made to us and the various possibilities that are being shown to us before we decide what's best for the university to do."
As long as you hear people like Boren saying stuff like this, expect Pitt to scoff at any mention of moving to the Big XII. This is just the latest example of how dangerously unstable the conference is, and so long as that's the case, Pitt isn't going anywhere near jumping the Big East ship for the Big XII.
That said, in the event Oklahoma and other Big XII schools follow through and do move out of that conference, then Pitt will have to keep a very careful eye on the college football landscape. The dawn of the age of superconferences may be at hand if things get to that point, and Pitt will have to make sure it has a seat at the big boy table when the music stops.
With Pitt recently being mentioned as a potential target of the Big 12 with the loss of Texas A&M, we’ve already been over the reasons why they’d be unlikely to make the move without other schools being involved.
But what if West Virginia came along? A Tulsa World reporter briefly mentions that the Mountaineers could also be a potential candidate for an invitation if the conference moves back to 12 teams:
One league spokesman agreed that Pitt would be a more attractive addition than other schools mentioned like BYU.
There also have been reports the Big 12 might return to 12 teams by adding some combination of Notre Dame, Pitt, West Virginia and BYU.
If Notre Dame were along for the ride, it’d be easier to envision Pitt going along, but at least West Virginia would be a start. This doesn’t even get close to being done, in my opinion, unless there are several schools involved a bit closer to home. I’m guessing both schools would want that third to come from the Big East as well for them to even consider a move. Adding BYU would strengthen the conference, no doubt, but it really would do nothing for Pitt or West Virginia.
Odds of this happening, even if Pitt and West Virginia pick up invites? Still very unlikely.
Reports of the Big XII's interest in Pitt as a replacement for Texas A&M are getting a lot of play at the moment, but before any move could be made on Pitt's part, that conference would have to achieve some level of stability. If you believe Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, said stability could be a long way off, if not a fantasy.
Should Oklahoma act upon its earnest desires and seek an invitation to join the Pacific-12 Conference — something I'm fully expecting to happen within days, if not hours — that decision could well be the killing blow to the Big 12 while also providing Texas the political cover to follow suit and ask for admission as well.
The Pac-12's not going to ask first. It's been down that road before, led along until the eleventh hour a year ago.
If OU gives notice that it is leaving the Big 12 — or if any of the other remaining eight members do, for that matter — the very foundation of the league would crumble.
Here's what I think will happen, probably before the calendar turns to October:
Your new Pac-16 members: Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The era of the super conference begins.
This is a little too doomsday for my tastes. Texas A&M's slow defection proves these kind of seismic shifts don't happen overnight, and while Oklahoma and Co. may well wish to leave the Big XII for greener pastures, there are a lot of steps to take and red tape to cut through before paper scenarios become reality.
Nevertheless, as long as people like Kirk Bohls are even thinking things like this could happen, let alone predicting them, Pitt administration would be crazy to take Big XII overtures seriously. If I'm Mark Nordenberg or Steve Pederson hearing these rumors while being courted by Texas or Oklahoma brass, I feel like little more than a fallback position in case a move to the Pac-12 falls through. That's not exactly a good way to start a relationship with a potential new athletic league.
Pitt leadership is smart enough to avoid getting caught up in these rumors. So long as there are whispers of upheaval like this, talk of the Panthers moving the Big XII will be just that: talk.
With the announcement from Texas A&M that they intend to leave the Big 12, the conference is pursuing new schools. One such school that’s been rumored as a potential candidate is Notre Dame. However, the Irish enjoy remaining independent and from all indications, don’t appear to be changing their minds anytime soon:
It has been speculated that the Big 12 would look to Notre Dame as its replacement for Texas A&M should the Aggies, as expected, leave the conference.
But even though Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick is friends with Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, that doesn’t mean his school ready to give up football independence.
“Our priority — and our clear priority — is maintaining our football independence and continuing to build our relationship with the Big East with our other sports,” Swarbrick told the Austin American-Statesman.
If Notre Dame ever changed their stance, Pitt could give any invite more serious consideration. But until then, the conference remains incredibly unstable and it’s unlikely that Pitt would give a move without other teams being added any serious consideration.
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