While I have a million opinions about all this, the admins at SU and Pitt did a great job of keeping this hush-hush. I guess they figured if it ever got out, some measures might have been taken to prevent it from happening. I think they DEFINITELY wanted this to happen.
I think, as I heard today, Marinetto found out about the applications being filed while at the WVU game today. He had to have heard of Thamel's rumor sometime last night, but I think Thamel was only talking discussions. This news was held in pretty tight given how quickly it all unfolded. Much like the fight scene in Anchorman.
I think WVU leaving the Big East is almost a given at this point. This summer their were all those blog posts by the SPITT beat writer discussing who Oliver Luck and the Pitt AD were examining many different options to put the schools in the best possible position and the strengthen the Big East. Apparently, the Big East could not be stabilized to their liking.