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Big 12 Expansion: West Virginia Officially The League's Tenth Member

This time it's official: the Big 12 issued a press release on Friday morning welcoming West Virginia into the conference.

The school had been connected to the conference for weeks after it became clear that Missouri wanted to leave, with several media outlets announcing the deal was done earlier in the week. But after Louisville, another school looking to leave the Big East, began lobbying for a spot, West Virginia's move was put on hold. 

Conference realignment reached the halls of the US Senate, as Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell personally lobbied the presidents of a few Big 12 schools while West Virginia's senatorial delegation fumed.

But that's all in the past now for the Mountaineers, the latest school to leave a Big East conference now officially on life support. The press release from the Big 12, which says the school was confirmed by a unanimous vote, also has the school officially joining the conference for the 2012-2013 season.

However, the Big East's bylaws can force a school to wait 27-months before leaving the conference, and they haven't given any indication that they'll waive that waiting period.

Now SMU, which was celebrating its invitation to a BCS AQ conference a few weeks ago, will have to re-evaluate whether it still wants to join a conference that everyone else is leaving.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.