- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2011

The Big East’s unraveling continued Friday when West Virginia officially announced its departure for the Big 12.

A twist came when West Virginia’s release said it would join the Big 12 on July 1, 2012, but Big East commissioner John Marinatto’s competing statement insisted the school would be held to the conference’s 27-month waiting period.

“This move by West Virginia does not come as a surprise,” Marinatto said. “We have taken West Virginia’s possible departure into account as we have moved forward with our own realignment plans.”

The commissioner said schools in discussions with the Big East about joining the conference were aware West Virginia could leave.

Combined with Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving for the ACC, West Virginia’s exit leaves the Big East with five football schools.

That number was in flux after Louisville’s flirtation with the Big 12. That apparently ended with West Virginia’s move. In a statement, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich described the Big 12’s consideration as an “honor.”

“The Big East conference has been and remains a very good home for us,” Jurich said. “We look forward to working with the league to attract quality institutions and build for the future.”

Marinatto said the Big East hopes to add “high-quality” schools in the “coming weeks.”

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