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West Virginia Released from Big East

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The Mountaineers have officially been released from the Big East conference, paving their way to the Big 12 (AP Photo). The Mountaineers have officially been released from the Big East conference, paving their way to the Big 12 (AP Photo).
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island -

According to releases from both the Big East and West Virginia University, the Mountaineers have been officially released from the Big East conference effective June 30, 2012. This move clears the way for WVU to join the Big 12 for the 2012-2012 competitive year.

This move comes a week after the Big East conference officially approved a $20mil buyout or schools to leave the conference, effectively paving the Mountaineers' way out of the conference. According to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, the Big 12 conference loaned the Mountaineers half of their buyout, in order to get the school in place for the 2012 football season.

West Virginia announced in October of 2011 that they would be leaving the Big East conference after a nearly two-decade membership in the conference. The Mountaineers would be one of two teams, along the Texas Christian Horned Frogs, to replace Texas A&M and Missouri, who left the Big 12 for the SEC.

In their first year under new head coach, and former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineers finished first in the Big East and capped off the season with a 70-33 win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

The Mountaineers return 17 starters, including quarterback Geno Smith who passed for 4,379 yards, 13 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in his junior season.

With West Virginia officially able to join the Big 12, a conference football schedule should soon follow, after being delayed from a Feb. 1 release date.

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