Despite interim commissioner Chuck Neinas insisting in multiple interviews the past few weeks that the Big 12 would release its 2012 football schedule by the contractually obligated February 1, 2012 due date, the conference will reportedly delay the release of that schedule for at least a week. According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the conference is publicly insisting that the schedule will be released, but a source inside the conference office indicated to him that it might not be the case:
The Big 12 will "likely" delay the release of its 2012 schedule until next week, a source told CBSSports.com Tuesday afternoon. However, the league reiterated it is holding to a Wednesday deadline to release the schedule.
Why is this significant? It could indicate a number of things. It could indicate that the Big East and West Virginia, which are engaged in court ordered non-binding mediation are close to a settlement and the release of the schedule is being delayed either to avoid interfering with that or that some schedule of games with Big 12 schools could possibly be a part of a settlement between the two conferences and West Virginia. It could also indicate that the Big East has made it known that a schedule from the Big 12 with West Virginia on it would be enough to go ahead and amend its lawsuit in Rhode Island to include the Big 12 for tortuous interference. It's all speculation at this point.
In the end, West Virginia will almost certainly play in the Big 12 in 2012. Still, it is noteworthy that the schedule could be delayed after so much public insistence that it would not be.
For more coverage West Virginia's attempt to leave the Big East early, stay tuned to our Big East Falls Apart section.