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NCAA Conference Realignment: Big East Boosts Exit Fee, Pitt Expected To Be Held Through 2013

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.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.