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Updated: Big East, WVU reportedly reach verbal agreement on departure, buyout

UPDATED 10:40 p.m. ET: Last update, folks. We promise. Maybe.

With West Virginia all but officially heading off to the Big 12, the next question becomes who, if anybody, replaces the Mountaineers this season. The Idaho Statesman reports that Boise State could potentially join the Big East in football in 2012 and the WAC in all other non-football sports. The Mountain West has stated they will not keep Boise State’s non-football sports.

UPDATED 9:40 p.m. ET: Reports from both West Virginia MetroNews and the Charleston Daily Mail state that the Big East has reached a deal with WVU over the school’s departure for the Big 12.

The deal is said to be verbal in nature with one source telling MetroNews they were “cautious... until there was an actual signed agreement.”

The price tag for that agreement, if/when signed, will reportedly be $20 million; it’s believed that the Big 12 will assist in that payment, although that’s not confirmed. MetroNews reports that Big East commissioner John Marinatto wanted somewhere between $50 million and $60 million. Marinatto has not publicly commented on the lawsuits.

Other reports had WVU paying $11 million in a buyout.

UPDATED 5:05 p.m. ET: A resolution as to where WVU will be playing this upcoming fall may be coming as soon as tomorrow. Despite a statement from a Rhode Island judge earlier today that said the Big East litigation against WVU was still on a path to trial, several reports have come out suggesting this could all be ending soon.

For everyone’s sanity, let’s hope there’s some truth to this.

First and foremost, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal that the Big 12’s schedule is expected to finally be made public tomorrow. The big question will be whether WVU is on that schedule in Missouri’s place or not.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that the Big East and WVU are in the final stages of negotiations that would allow WVU to join the Big 12. The settlement, according to the Daily Mail, could result in WVU paying $11 million. Keep in mind that could simply be the amount that WVU pays without any additional help from the Big 12.

If WVU is able to leave, the question becomes a matter of how many teams will be in the Big East in 2012. Although Boise State president Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman last week it was “too late” to join the Big East in such a short time frame, Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports reports there is still a possibility of the Broncos making an immediate jump.

More pieces of the Big East/West Virginia puzzle are coming out today, and contrary to what’s been reported over the last 24 hours or so, this latest piece indicates that perhaps the two sides are still at the drawing board.

With a status conference held this morning between the Big East and WVU to conclude a stint of non-binding mediation, coupled with buyout numbers emerging yesterday ranging from $11 million to $20 million, the general feeling lately has been that the two sides are nearing an agreement that would allow WVU to join the Big 12 this year.

A Rhode Island judge, however, says that’s not the case -- at least not right now. In a statement released after the status conference, a spokesperson for judge Michael Silverstein, who is hearing the Big East’s lawsuit against WVU, said the litigation remains an unsolved matter.

“The result of the Big East/WVU conference with Judge (Michael) Silverstein this morning is that the matter is continued to an unspecified date for another status conference.

“The Rhode Island case continues on a path toward trial, though Judge Silverstein is certainly open to news of a settlement if that happens in the interim. The judge did not disclose anything more specific than that regarding his discussions with the attorneys this morning.”

So there it is. This could be a precautionary statement to curb the rate at which these matters are reported. Or, it could be that the Big East remains firm about holding WVU to the conference bylaws. Either way, a trial would be the worst case scenario for WVU.

Eventually, and perhaps sooner rather than later, the Big 12 will release its schedule. Eventually, the Big East will have to have its schedule finalized. With those things in mind, it feels as though a resolution one way or the other has to be coming in the near future. A matter of exactly when remains to be seen.