Two interesting caveats have surfaced in regard to today’s invitation by Big 12 officials to West Virginia _ including one that should be of special interest to TCU administrators _ according to BlueGoldNews.com, a website that covers West Virginia sports.
Sources told the website that West Virginia will receive an equal share of the Big 12’s ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports revenues immediately upon joining the league. TCU’s cut of TV revenues, according to sources, will be phased in over time and the school will not receive an equal share until 2015.
But Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas shot down that report during today's teleconference announcing West Virginia as an official Big 12 member. Asked how West Virginia's TV distribution would be implemented in comparison to TCU, Neinas said: "It's similar. The same."
Also: the website, citing sources, reported that West Virginia might be able to expedite its departure timetable from the Big East by paying a $21 million exit fee to join the Big 12 in 2012. The same offer, said the website, has been extended to Pittsburgh in regard to joining the ACC next season.
As things stand, Big 12 and Big East officials have issued conflicting statements today in regard to West Virginia's departure timetable. Big 12 and WVa officials say 2012. The Big East says 2014.
West Virginia officials declined to comment on specifics about how they plan to move to the Big 12 in 2012, as per today's announcement. Dr. James P. Clements, the West Virginia president, said: "Our team is in discussion with their team. I'm confident that in 2012, we will be a full member of the Big 12."
Clements said West Virginia officials sent in a withdrawl letter today, specifying a 2012 departure, as well as $2.5 million as half of the school's $5 million withdrawal fee. The rest will be sent later.
The $21 million figure, if valid, would represent a significant increase over the $5 million fee cited in Big East bylaws, which stood as TCU's exit fee for not following through on its plans to join the Big East next year.
_ Jimmy Burch