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WVU Officially Joining Big 12 in July

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia University and the Big East have officially settled their simultaneous lawsuits out of court. The legal battles in West Virginia and Rhode Island are now over and WVU will officially join the Big 12 on July 1 without any further legal ramifications.

"Our membership in the Big 12 offers WVU significant advantages," said WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck. "The Big 12 is a strong and vibrant conference academically and athletically. We look forward to the potential academic and athletic partnerships and financial opportunities that membership in the Big 12 offers."

Both West Virginia and the Big East have, per the agreement, decided to keep the terms of the settlement private. However, Luck stressed that no state or taxpayer funds, tuition or academic support monies will be used to pay the settlement.  Any settlement funding transferred, according to Luck, will come from private sources and independently generated athletic revenues.

Reports indicate West Virginia University's settlement with the Big East is for a total of $20 million. WVU will reportedly pay $10 million of that total up front. The Big 12 will reportedly contribute the other $10 million although WVU will eventually repay the Big 12 $5 million.

"This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for WVU's future," Luck said. "I've heard from Mountaineer fans across the country who have made it very clear that they are proud and honored to be heading into the Big 12."

"Our partnership with the Big 12 is an investment in WVU's future," WVU President James Clements said. "We're looking forward to the tremendous opportunities it presents – all across our university."

The Big East has also officially acknowledged West Virginia's departure from its conference later this year.

"West Virginia University has acknowledged and agreed that the Court in Monongalia County, West Virginia, will enter a judgment that the BIG EAST Conference Bylaws are valid and enforceable, and will dismiss with prejudice all of West Virginia's claims against the Conference." stated John Marinatto Commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference.

The Big East, in a release Tuesday morning, remained firm that its bylaws state a member may leave by submitting an exit fee and a minimum of 27-months notice. It also acknowledged that membership can be terminated by a ¾ vote among member institutions and that is the avenue that led to West Virginia's departure.

The Big East also acknowledged that it took into account the steps that West Virginia University was willing to take to settle the dispute including the payment of an exit fee "well in excess of that required by the Bylaws."

West Virginia University will cease to be a member of the Big East on June 30 and begin its membership in the Big 12 on July 1.

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