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West Virginia officially joins Big 12

Friday, October 28, 2011 | 1:05 p.m. CDT; updated 6:57 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 28, 2011

West Virginia University was announced as the newest member of the Big 12 on Friday morning after a unanimous vote from the league's Board of Directors, confirming rumors that surfaced on Tuesday.

Statements from both the Big East and the Big 12 released Friday morning confirmed that the Mountaineers had joined the Big 12.

What the statements disagreed on was exactly when that would happen. The Big 12's release welcomed West Virginia as a full member beginning July 1, 2012, and that the Mountaineers athletics programs would begin play in the Big 12 starting next season.

But in a statement from Commissioner John Marinatto, the Big East said it plans to enforce the 27-month notification period for schools that choose to leave the league.

What happens with that will likely impact Missouri, which was not among the ten schools listed in the Big 12's statement that are "expected" to be in the conference next season — just another indication that MU is headed to the SEC any moment now.

"Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities — Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia," the statement reads.

If West Virginia can negotiate a fast exit from the Big East, it will ease the exit process for Missouri and potentially lower the exit penalty MU will have to pay the Big 12.

This news comes on the heels of a web snafu Thursday night, where a page entitled, "Tiger Tracks: Missouri joins the SEC" appeared momentarily as part of the SEC website. That Web page said that Missouri would join the SEC as a full member on July 1, 2012.

Through Twitter, SEC spokesman Charles Bloom responded to the situation Friday morning as such: "Web vendor made mistake. No agreement between and Missouri."

XOS Digital, the web vendor, released a statement Friday, which said that it was an "inadvertent error of making available a draft article" and that the draft was "prepared so the article could be finalized and posted quickly should Missouri in fact join the SEC."


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