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.