The Big East Conference has lost another big-time football and men's basketball program Friday as multiple reports say West Virginia University, not the University of Louisville, will be invited to join the Big 12 Conference after vote by the league's board of directors. The Mountaineers, who are currently ranked No. 24 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and No. 25 in the AP Poll and Bowl Championship Series standings, will accept the invitation to become the 10th and final member of the Big 12 expansion plans.
Over the past few days, WVU has been waiting to hear about its Big 12 status after receiving a verbal offer to join the league Tuesday. That offer was then put on hold after the Big 12 debated about adding WVU, Louisville or both. In the end, the Mountaineers were chosen to replace the University of Missouri, which is expected to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
What is good news for WVU, but bad news for Louisville, is possibly the best thing to happen to the Big East in the last few months.
"This is the best news for the Big East since UConn cut down the nets," tweeted New York Times' reporter Pete Thamel, who confirmed the CBSSports.com report about the addition of WVU. "League still has a heartbeat. Losing both could have been fatal."
CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, who broke this story Friday morning, said the Big East chances of keeping its BCS automatic qualifying status is now really good.
"The Big East wants to get to a 12-team football league and is expected to issue invitations to Boise State, Air Force, Navy, Houston, SMU and Central Florida. That would increase the membership to 11 teams."
However, there still is a very good chance that WVU will not be the last Big East program to leave the league, especially if Boise State University decides to not join. It does sound like the Big 12 will no longer add anymore schools -- rumors are saying that the University of Texas, which owns its own television network with ESPN, doesn't want to split anymore of its TV money. It also seems as if the Big Ten Conference is set on its number of schools. But, rumors are still flying around that the Atlantic Coast Conference may not be done adding programs -- University of Notre Dame? the University of Connecticut? Rutgers University?
For now, this is good news for the Big East. But, this conference realignment stuff is not done yet.