The Big XII appears to have a replacement in mind for when Missouri makes its move to the SEC.
The Big 12 has approved bringing in West Virginia to replace Missouri when the Tigers complete their move to the Southeastern Conference, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the school nor the Big 12 had announced that its board of directors unanimously approved inviting West Virginia when Missouri’s spot comes open.
The move would allow the Big 12 to maintain 10 members and is another blow to the embattled Big East, which already has lost two members and one member-to-be in the last six weeks.
The Big East is trying to reconfigure as a 12-team football league and has been courting Boise State, Navy and Air Force as football-only members and Central Florida, SMU and Houston for all sports. Commissioner John Marinatto met with officials from some of those schools Sunday in Washington.
Since there is no timetable for Missouri to complete its expected departure from the Big 12 — and the league’s board of directors announced that it expressed “a strong desire” for Missouri to stay during a Monday meeting — there is no timetable for West Virginia to receive a formal invitation, the person said.
But the school will accept an invitation once it is offered, the person said.
That news comes at a time when the powers that be at UH are considering their invitation to the Big East, or whatever may be left of it.
UH’s board of regents called for a special meeting at 4 p.m. on Thursday regarding the school’s athletic conference affiliation.
On the meeting agenda is a request for approval to “delegate authority to the Chancellor to negotiate and execute a contract for athletic conference affiliation and to negotiate and provide notice of contract cancellation as necessary.”
The agenda does not specify a particular conference, but a person familiar with the Big East’s expansion discussions told the Chronicle last week that UH received an invitation to the Big East Conference.
If school chancellor and president Renu Khator is granted approval to act on conference affiliation on Thursday, the timetable for when UH might take its next step in determining its conference future is unclear.
“Thursday’s meeting is to give our board members an update on conference realignment as it pertains to the University of Houston,” UH athletic director Mack Rhoades said in a statement. “There is a great deal of speculation out there, and this meeting will allow us to provide our leadership with up-to-date information.”
The NYT says that the schools that were targeted by the Big East had been told about the possibility of WVU departing, so one presumes this is not a surprise. The question is whether it’s the last domino, and if so for how long.
While Big East officials and athletic directors are confident they will rebuild, there are troubling lingering issues. Does Notre Dame risk further Big East defections? It’s reasonable to expect the Big 12 to grow when it renegotiates its ESPN deal, which expires after the 2015 football season. That would put Louisville at risk of getting grabbed.
And Connecticut is yearning to be in the ACC. So again I say there may not be a Big East for anyone to join. Good luck with that decision, y’all.