Blog Entry

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:10 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 9:59 am

West Virginia is filing suit against the Big East Conference so it can join the Big 12 next season, according to a document obtained by

The Big East requires its members to pay $5 million and provide 27 months notice before it may leave the conference. However, on Friday when West Virginia accepted an invitation to join the Big 12, WVU and Big 12 officials both indicated the Mountaineers would begin play in the Big 12 in 2012-13.

In an e-mail to the league’s presidents Monday, Big East commissioner John Marinatto wrote that “we have been advised by West Virginia league council that the University is filing suit against the Big East Conference today (Monday) – presumably to get relief from the withdrawal provision contained in our bylaws.”

Marinatto later issued the following statement in response to West Virginia's lawsuit:

“We are disappointed that West Virginia has adopted this strategy and cannot imagine why it believes it does not have to respect and honor the bylaws it agreed to as a member of the Big East. Based on an initial review of the lawsuit, it is clear that the allegations and claims in it are false and inaccurate. Certainly there is nothing in it that would justify WVU’s not fulfilling its obligations. To put it simply, a contract is a contract.

“Once we have reviewed the filing, we will explore all our legal options and will act vigorously to ensure that WVU lives up to all its obligations to our conference. In the meantime, this lawsuit will not interfere in any way with our ongoing efforts to strengthen and expand the Big East.”

 West Virginia is the latest school to announce it was leaving the Big East along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and TCU to the Big 12.

The Big East has a 27-month notification period to leave and Marinatto has said multiple times Pittsburgh and Syracuse can’t leave for the ACC until June 1, 2014. Other league sources have said the Big East has no plans of letting West Virginia leave the league before June 1, 2014 and were surprised the Mountaineers announced they were joining the Big 12 in 2012. TCU had to pay $5 million, but was not required to provide 27 months notice because it left for the Big 12 before it actually began play in the Big East.

"We've been a good member of the Big East for a long time," President James Clements told reporters on Friday. "Our University is in discussions with the conference office."

Clements said West Virginia has already paid $2.5 million of the $5 million exit fee required to the Big East. He added the remaining amount would be paid on June 30, 2012 – on what the Mountaineers believe will be their final day in the Big East.

The Big East’s presidents and chancellors will meet in Philadelphia Tuesday. They are expected to formalize plans to add as many as six schools – Boise State, Navy, Air Force, SMU, Houston and UCF. No schools have received “official invitations” yet, but all have had multiple discussions with Marinatto in recent weeks about joining the league.

Last month, Marinatto said that if the Big East grew to 12 football schools, the league still would make Pitt and Syracuse honor the 27-month requirement "even if it meant a 14-team Big East" in 2013. That philosophy hasn't changed, league sources said, which could possibly mean a 15-team Big East, including West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, in 2013.


Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:09 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

LOL, the Big East can't do shit about the 27 month rule. 

Syracuse, Pitt and WVU will leave when they want. Which will most likely be after this year.

The Big East has no balls and can't do anything about it.  

Since: Oct 18, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:57 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

Who the heck cares about West Virginia or any of the other lame-duck Big East teams? When was the last time a BE team had a legitimate national contender? WVU will never be a top-tier program and the Big 12 is only interested out of pure desperation. The speed at which TCU changed their mind tells you something. Not only does it make more sense logistically, they will be with a real conference.

Since: Sep 2, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 2:50 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

Big East screwed up in 1985 with Penn State. Penn State applied and got REJECTED. Yes, rejected. They needed 6 out of 8 votes and got 5. If anyone can figure out who voted no that solves one of the stupidest conference moves ever. 

Since: Sep 20, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 2:24 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

The Big East should have seen the future of college sports  and acted. Instead they sat back and let ND walk over them , let non football schools vote in football matters, watched Penn State go to the Big 10 , watched as the ACC grabbed the top football schools,filed meaningless lawsuits to stop the ACC then never expanded in football. Now it is all too little too late

Since: Aug 11, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:46 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

Everyone here has missed the true agenda of the big 12, acc, and sec. what does the BE posess that the others want more of? They want their BCS game slots. If you kill the confrence, you increase you chances of more access. Do you really think the Big 12 and SEC want to see SMU and Houston with BCS access for recruiting? Do you think The big 12 is thrilled of having Boisie with BCS access? If these so called super confrences are coming, do you think they want former non BCS teams getting bowls while they have teams that could be in that slot? They want their access. But if the Big East prevails in which they should, then the addition of Houston, Boisie, Air Force, BYU, Army, Navy, and SMU with the holding of WV, Pitt, and the Orange gives them more than enough clout to keep their AQ status. Which makes it in turn working against themselves by helping the confrence they are leaving and thus making it harder to get into a BCS bowl gamewith their new an larger confrence where there is now less of a chance because they assisted in that cinerio.

Since: Sep 2, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:32 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

I wonder if West Virginia will get reimbursed by Missouri and the SEC for its legal fees. We all know what this is about. The Big 12 needs a tenth team to keep its football contact alive... enter West Virginia. Missouri can't go until West Virginia can get out of the Big East.

Since: Jun 2, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:04 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

Well they should've forced Notre Dame to join or kicked them out all together.  Or when The Big 12 was getting picked apart they should've been agressive in getting a piece of that conference. TCU was in so why not?  East against West. Boise State, BYU, etc.... Just saying Villanova idea wasn't helping.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:01 am

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

While it is highly suspected that certain parties in the ACC want the Big East out of the picture so they no longer outshine them in basketball

Dude, that is paranoid.  Next you'll tell us about the aliens setting up bases in the desert on Elvis' hidden ranch.  The ACC leaders saw the writing on the wall back in 2004 and reacted accordingly.  The Big East leadership did ... well, nothing.  They never went after Penn State.  They let Notre Dame use them as a play toy.  They let the basketball only schools rule.  Well, they got what they wanted.  The basketball schools have chased the the football schools away.

As for the outshining in basketball, some years yes, some years no.  I watch a lot of college basketball and the ACC and Big East are definitely the best conferences top to bottom.  I'm not going to argue whose 1 and 2 on any given year because the argument is pointless. 

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:01 pm

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

ncgreene, The payment was required to be submitted under the terms of the existing bylaws with the notice of withdrawal
Sure there is/was a payment due but, did WVU explicitly specify that is what the money was for?  My suspicion and point is this, I think it is possible that Marinatto could have been outsmarted by a little legal chicanary here.  We don't know what the proposal that was sent along with the payment said, or if the payment was specifically stated to be part of the $5 million buyout.  Is it not a possiblity that this is exactly what Luck and Clements hoped Marinatto would assume and thus fall into a well laid trap?  If so it would only serve to prove once and for all just how inept the Big East Big Wigs are.

Anyone wonder if these rumors about the big 12 not being finished expanding, is a veiled threat by the big 12 to the big east.  Their way of saying, let West Virginia go, or we will finish you off by taking Louisville, and then maybe Cincinnati?
I don't think so, unlike the ACC, I don't think the Big 12 harbours any ill will towards the Big East.  What reason would they have for that?  I think the Big 12 is just being proactive and doing what it must to insure it's survival, something the Big East could stand to take lessons on.  While it is highly suspected that certain parties in the ACC want the Big East out of the picture so they no longer outshine them in basketball, I can't see the Big 12 having any reason to feel that way, or to feel the need to send veiled threats.  With this realignment business it's do or die.  The Big 12 and others are doing, and the Big East is dying.


Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:50 pm

West Virginia filing suit vs. Big East

The flip side is that anyone can breach a contract.  Your only obligation is to pay the appropriate damages for doing so. 

If you hire a roofer and he shows up, you can tell him that you changed your mind and are going with someone else.  That's your right.  But your obligation is to pay the roofer damages--such as lost profits.  You get to counter by saying that those lost profits could have been mitigated by doing other work.  The roofer gets to respond by saying that "there was no other work."  And so on.

Not sure what the Big East can articulate in terms of legal damages here.  This suit is likely to goad the Big East into countersuing for damages.  Once they show their hand, their hand will be pretty weak too. 

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