UPDATED 9:40 p.m. ET: With West Virginia apparently nearing a deal to move on to the Big 12 this year, the Big East would be left with just seven football teams, each of which would be forced to scramble to schedule another game.
Florida State feels your pain, y’all.
But one answer doesn’t require that much looking. Sources close to the situation told the Newark Star-Ledger that Rutgers and Syracuse could play twice in 2012 in a home-and-home series.
Obviously, Florida International wasn’t available twice for their annual game against the Scarlet Knights.
As we’ve been indicating over the past week, the Big East and West Virginia could be nearing a resolution to their dueling litigation that would allow WVU to join the Big 12 in time for this upcoming season.
While that’s far from confirmed, it sounds like it’s getting close.
Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports reports that WVU is nearing a buyout with the Big East worth… wait for it… at least $20 million that would “resolve all issues between both parties.”
For what it’s worth, another buyout number, a significantly less $11 million, has been mentioned as well.
The Big East has been hard-headed about letting WVU leave the conference before the 27-month waiting period as mandated by the conference bylaws, which, it should be noted, WVU reaffirmed last October as part of a unanimous vote. On the contrary, WVU and the Big 12 have stated, almost as though a fact, that the Mountaineers will be participating in the Big 12 this season.
The reported $20 million buyout, if indeed the number settled upon, would be double the buyout the Big East agreed upon with the inclusion of Navy as a football-only member. Acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told West Virginia MetroNews last week that the Big 12 might help WVU with the buyout if necessary.
McMurphy reports the buyout “is believed to be contingent on the Big East being able to get a replacement for West Virginia in 2012 and certainly could increase if it had to play with only seven members in 2012. It’s unknown if that $20 million figure includes the $5 million West Virginia paid upon notifying the Big East last October it was bolting to the Big 12.”
A tweet from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News said that Boise State was feeling pressure to join the Big East in 2012. Boise State’s president later said it would be “too late” for that.
Earlier today, the Big East announced that Memphis would be the newest all-sports member starting in 2013.
The Big East and WVU have been participating in non-binding mediation since last month. Coincidentally (not), a status conference is scheduled for tomorrow, Feb. 9. Last week, the Big 12 released its 2012 schedule to its TV partners out of requirement, but has yet to release those schedules publicly.