Report: Big 12 approves West Virginia into conference

Daily Staff

West Virginia has been approved to enter the Big 12 Conference, an anonymous source told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

The school, based in Morgantown, W.Va., is reportedly the planned replacement for Missouri, which has taken steps to possibly leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference but has not officially done so as of yet.

However, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton indicated that his school’s status regarding conference realignment may be announced in the coming days, according to the Kansas City Star.

Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas said Missouri is expected to remain a part of the conference for 2012.

The Big 12 has expressed a “strong desire” for Missouri to stay in the conference during a Monday meeting of the league’s board of directors, according to the report.

West Virginia will be leaving the Big East Conference and will be the second addition to the Big 12 after Texas Christian University’s admittance into the conference on Oct. 10. TCU skirted previous admittance into the Big East once a vacancy in the Big 12 became available.

The Big 12 reportedly has not sent a formal invitation to West Virginia, but the school is expected to accept one once it is sent with the reportedly impending absence of Missouri, according to the report.

If Missouri were to leave the Big 12, it will be the fourth team to leave the conference. Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) bolted after 2011 and Texas A&M (SEC) is leaving after this athletic season.

Since the departure of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College in 2004 and 2005, West Virginia has been the most successful team in football, having made it to a bowl game every season then — including victories in two BCS bowls.

The Big East also lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse last month when they opted to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, leaving the conference down to five members — Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida — for football.

However, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will remain in the Big East for the next two years, leaving a possible obstacle for West Virginia’s exit from the conference that is rooted in the league’s 27-month notification policy.

West Virginia originally joined the Big East Conference in 1991, but did not become a member for football until 1995.

To replace the three schools, the Big East is reportedly reaching out to Temple, Southern Methodist, Central Florida and Houston for all sports and Boise State, Navy and Air Force for football only.

Geographically, West Virginia is the school farthest east from the other members of the Big 12 with the closest member being Iowa State (870 miles).

Stay tuned to for more updates as this story develops.