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Big East presidents two weeks ago agreed to raise the league’s exit fee to $10 million, but not until it had received commitments from one of its two main expansion targets _ Air Force or Navy.

West Virginia will not be on the hook for the doubled exit fee but clearly it will cost the something for the Mountaineers to start playing in the Big 12 next season. Same goes for Pitt and Syracuse and the ACC.

It appeared earlier in the week that the Big 12 had settled on West Virginia as its replacement for Missouri. But Louisville briefly re-entered the picture, and the Mountaineers’ invitation to the Big 12 was put on hold.

In the end the extra time didn’t pay off for the Cardinals.

“I’m not certain how everything went down, but they fought a good battle and won,” Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich said.

The Big 12, even before landing that big TV deal, distributed more revenue ($137 million) last year to its members than the Big East ($113), which will begin negotiating new TV deals next year.

West Virginia University President James Clements said: “The Big 12 is a perfect fit for West Virginia.”

“It’s a great day to be a Mountaineer,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told the AP.

CBSSports.com first reported West Virginia’s move to the Big 12.

The decision by the Big 12 caps a strange week of conference realignment that included West Virginia officials on Tuesday preparing a press release and planning a news conference to announce its conference switch, then being told later that day to put the brakes on those plans.

Louisville made a late push for inclusion that reportedly involved a phone call from Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville alum, to Big 12 officials.

“He lobbied for us, of course he did, as did many other people,” Jurich said.

That set off Manchin, who threatened Wednesday a senate investigation if it were found that another lawmaker had stood in the way of the Mountaineers move.

Then late Thursday night, the SEC inadvertently posted on its website that Missouri was joining the league. The conference said no agreement has been reached with the school, but it was yet another sign that it’s just a matter of time before the Tigers follow Texas A&M.

Now, the focus shifts to the Big East and how it will rebuild. The plan is to add Boise State, Navy and Air Force as football-only members and SMU, Houston and Central Florida as all-sports members.

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