Syracuse reaches agreement to leave Big East in 2013. Will Pittsburgh follow?

It will cost Syracuse significantly less money than it did West Virginia to leave the Big East ahead of schedule.

The Big East announced Monday that Syracuse will pay a $5 million exit fee and an extra $2.5 million to the league in return for the right to join the ACC in time for the 2013-14 school year rather than the following year. Five months ago, West Virginia paid $20 million for the right to break its Big East contract and join the Big 12 for the 2012-13 school year.

Although the loss of Syracuse significantly damages the Big East's brand and tradition of basketball success, interim commissioner Joe Bailey tried to put a happy face on the departure of one of the league's seven flagship schools. The Big East has recently added the likes of Memphis, Houston, SMU and UCF in all sports in hopes of softening the impending loss of West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

"This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for the Big East's future," Bailey said in a statement. "With the recent addition of eight schools to the Big East, the future for the Conference has never been brighter."

One of the questions the remains regarding the future makeup of the Big East is whether Pittsburgh will join Syracuse in leaving for the ACC in 2013 or wait until 2014 to make the move. Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit against the Big East in May in hopes of forcing the league to let it leave in 2013, but athletic director Steve Pederson has been adamant that the school will not pay more than $5 million to exit early.

Ultimately, it seems highly likely Pittsburgh will reach a compromise with the Big East the way Syracuse did and make its exit a year from now. That means the balance of power in college basketball will be shifting from the Big East to the ACC by fall 2013.