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West Virginia Reportedly Close To Joining The Big 12 For 2012 Season

The Mountaineers would be looking at a buyout of around $20 million with the Big East, and a settlement would pave the way for the release of the Big 12's 2012 football schedule.

According to a report from CBS, West Virginia is one step closer to joining the Big 12 for the 2012 football season, as they are negotiating a buyout of nearly $20 million with the Big East.

While the Big East has publicly stated for months that they would force the three schools leaving their conference -- West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh -- to honor contracts that would keep them in place until 2014, they have privately admitted there's little they can actually do legally.

As a result, the conference has moved on to grabbing as much money from their former members as possible as they walk out the door.

If the Mountaineers do leave, it will leave the conference with only seven-football playing members for the 2012 season, which could result in a settlement upwards of $20 million.

West Virginia has reportedly already been added to the schedule that the Big 12 sends its TV partners, and a formal settlement with their former conference could pave the way for the conference's 2012 football schedule to be released sometime in the next week.

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