Blog Entry

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 4:37 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

PDF: Read the official complaint, filed in the Rhode Island Superior Court

When West Virginia held their teleconference to announce the move to the Big 12, the most popular question was how the Mountaineers planned to compete in their new conference in the 2012-2013 season with a 27-month withdrawal required by Big East bylaws.

At the time, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck answered several times that "our people are working with their people to make that happen."

Apparently that did not work out well for the Mountaineers, with the school filing a lawsuit against the Big East earlier this week so it can join the Big 12.

After Commissioner John Marinatto issued his statement of disappointment, the Big East decided to take action themselves. On Friday, the conference announced they are pursuing legal action against West Virginia.

The conference filed a suit in the Superior Court for the State of Rhode Island, Providence County. It is described as a "breach of contract lawsuit" and seeks an order requiring West Virginia to comply with Big East bylaws. These bylaws include the 27 months for exit, as well as payment of the exit fee.

“Today’s legal action underscores the Big East Conference’s stated position that it will vigorously pursue the enforcement of its rights and West Virginia University’s obligations under the conference’s Bylaws which West Virginia formally agreed to and helped construct,” Marinatto said in the official release.

This action comes as no surprise, as the presidents of the Big East schools voted to hold exiting members to the 27-month requirement in an annual meeting on Tuesday. What comes next? A long and confusing legal battle over conference responsibilities. Nobody wins, except the lawyers. 

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Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 5, 2011 2:04 pm

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

@ RSZ - you need to go back and research the issues with the Big 12.

Colorado, Nebraska, and A&M are not leaving the Big 12 due to revenue sharing EXACTLY; they're leaving due to the fact that the revenue plan is the same as it was until earlier this year when it was changed to give every team a flat rate.   Before it was based upon percent of appearances on TV and Bowls, etc.   

FUNNY!   Nebraska and Colorado when they were on top and on TV and going to Bowls all the time NEVER complained and the rest of the conference accepted this as fair percentage.   But once Nebraska and Colorado went downhill and OU and Texas were on top, THEN it became an issue and with ESPN's overpayment of the LongHorn network; that was the excuse with Nebraska and Colorado needed to exit the conference as they could see that Texas marketing was up and rolling and OU is not far behind.

I laugh as those weak-a$$ arguments because everyone points to those issues but they don't EVER explain WHY those are problems much less look at the actual structure; they just go and blame TEXAS calling them a "bully" without understanding that the whole situation was created at the same time the Big 12 was formed.  

Since: Nov 14, 2007
Posted on: November 5, 2011 12:43 pm

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

OMFG-Nice legal briefs fellas.  Big 12 has to have 10 teams to get the TV money. This has to have been a pre-req.  I guess when and if WV has to sign on to the Big 12 bylaws it will be with a wink and a smile. Music keeps starting and stopping in this game of musical chairs on acid.

Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: November 5, 2011 11:36 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

Did WVU make promises to the Big12 that they would be joining next year? Now has the Big 12 detrimentally relied upon those assertions and promises that WVU made in order to receive the invite? Secondarily, aren't most college football schedules made far into the future? How would WVU be able to take on a Big 12 schedule next year, without breaching its contracts with schools already on their schedule? This turns into a cluster breach if you step back and look at the big picture, which is something the Marinatto's and the Luck's have failed to do here.

Logistically, these programs (Pitt, Syracuse, WVU) are not prepared to move to their respective new conferences next year. They really need time to strategically look at their future schedules in all sports, make an appropriate business plan and then execute it. WVU looking to get all this accomplished by next year is akin to a private company looking to go public in six months without any SOX compliance programs in place. They can do it, but it is a recipe for disaster. These teams and conferences need to use this additional time afforded them by these "out" clauses, to formulate and execute their exit strategies in a seamless manner instead of a scrambled mess. 

I am not an academic, but the WVU Business School (if they have one), has failed the University or the University has failed by not including the Business School to help formulate and execute the proper exit and entrance strategy. When WVU only relies on the litigators, the best result will not be achieved. The lawyers are making the money, the fans, get the short end once again. Ohhh, I forgot. At the end of the day, all these law firms will do the work for free in order to save the public embarassment of millions going out the door to these firms. Are these actions being funded by public taxpayer money? The BE should seek legal fees as part of the litigation, which I am sure, they asked for. What a mess!  Finally, this breach of contract mess will be used against WVU in recruiting. Coaches will be all over this when they get into potential recruits parents homes and say "why do you want your son or daughter to go to WVU, when they don't honor a contract"? What are they going to do to your son or daughter after they sign a binding letter of intent to go to their university? When your child gets there and maybe doesn't work out, they are going to find a loophole and put them out". Watch what you ask for WVU. You might get it!  


Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: November 5, 2011 10:53 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

I NEVER thought I would ever find myself agreeing with anything WVU. How can Marinatto file a breach of contract BEFORE WVU leaves...until they do what have they breached?
It's a countersuit in response to West Virginia's lawsuit.  West Virginia has publically announced their intention to breach the contract (funny thing is they still haven't said anything regarding the terms they believe would allow them to leave early).

The countersuit is to enforce the existing contract...and yes, you can be sued to perform the duties that you originally agreed to.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: November 5, 2011 10:24 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

JMannWV............... I would be very careful who you call dumb if I were you.  The reason the suit aganist WVU is in a court in Rhode Island, is that Rhode Island is the State the BIG EAST CONFERENCE was incorporated in, and the BIG EAST headquarters is located in Providence. Rhode Island.  When WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY initially signed it's contract as a member of the BE Conference, WVU at the signing agreed that the contract would be governed by the laws of the State of Rhode Island.  So, Rhode Island is the jurisdiction for the BIG EAST lawsuit.  Don't call people DUMB until you know what you are talking about, my friend.  

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: November 5, 2011 9:49 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

I NEVER thought I would ever find myself agreeing with anything WVU. How can Marinatto file a breach of contract BEFORE WVU leaves...until they do what have they breached? The Big East has failed all it's members and their head Marinatto, should have been fired a long time ago. His lack of insight and forethought in preparing this conference to move forward has lead to it's demise. Now he wants to flex his weak legal muscle to prevent the inevitable. In the future, as fingers get pointed to blame for the BE downfall, Marinatto has to just look in the mirror. Hopefully Pitt and Syracuse will join WVU to expedite this process.   

I thought the exact same thing Panther...

This counter suit by the Big East once again shows the 'reactiveness' of Marinatto.  He has done NOTHING proactive for the conference since he took over.  His lack of competence and leadership has fueled the demise of the Big East.  I just wish that the Big XII (and even the ACC) would move forward and look to adding the likes of Louisville and Cincinnati ... surely that would end this fiasco.

I know that WVU fans are looking forward to next season and their new conference...much like Pitt and SU fans are.  Exciting times for all three schools.  Sure, I think we'll all miss the Big East - basketball seasons and the Tourney in MSG, but ... it was time to move forward.  The BE football conference has been a joke since VT, Miami and BC left for the most part.


Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: November 5, 2011 9:16 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

West Virginia agreed to the by-laws of the Big East.  They should be prepared to honor that agreement.  However, that being said, I feel that the Big East is being desparate in it's attempt to keep it's BCS status by making the teams that are leaving honor this agreement.  The Big East should take the high road and let these schools leave.  With the teams currently in the conference, they don't deserve a bid.  Adding these new teams and keeping the old ones doesn't make the conference any better.

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: November 5, 2011 8:54 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

I am not an attorney... just a stupid inbred who grew up in WV and graduated from WVU.  But, WVU's move to sue the Big East makes perfect sense to me.  They want to play in the Big 12 next year, so to make this happen they need to negotiate a buy-out.  No court will enforce WVU to stay in the BE.  There will be a settlement.

WVU lost coaches to the UofM... both coaches had to pay to leave for their new home.

This is how it will be with WVU's move to its new home.

Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: November 5, 2011 1:35 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

The problem with the Big East is the same as the problem with the Big 12; a disparity in how the member schools are treated.  The Big 12, especially Texas, should have learned their lesson from the Big East, which has been in trouble for a very long time.

Texas wants the LHN to increase their revenue.  The Big East has Notre Dame who already has their own network, NBC.

The other Big East schools have rebelled because the treatment for every member is not equal.  Miami, Virginia Tech, and BC left the Big East for a conference where every university is treated equally.

Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Missouri have left the Big 12 because the conference is willing to make an exception for Texas, who considers themselves above the other teams in the conference.  This is the same compromise that the Big East made in regard to Notre Dame.

The one thing that the Big 12 has going for them is that all of the member schools play in the same conference in all of their major sports.  This is why they may survive.

The Big East has such a huge disparity in their member schools.  They are the super conference when it comes to basketball, but all of their best football schools are running away because they want the stability that the Big East can't offer.

The fact is that you can't satisfy every member by making arbitrary rules to lure a university in to your conference.  Nobody wants part-time members.

The Big East should just let West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse go because the conference really does not exist any longer other than a temporary opportunity.  Boise State sees the Big East as their golden opportunity to make a couple BCS bowl games and possible steal a championship before the BCS contract is renogotiated in 2014 and they lose their automatic qualifier status.

Boise State has a great football team; there is no doubt about that.  They go out of their way to play the best teams that will schedule them, but the only reason that they have not won a championship is because of conference affiliation.  Enter the Big East who will give Boise State a chance for a championship and at the same time delays their own demise.

If it were not for the selfishness of the Big East administrators the conference would no longer exist.  There isn't a team in the conference that isn't looking for something better.  The Big East may survive until 2014, but mark that as the year that the Big East no longer exists.

You can thank the eventual demise of the Big East to the pompous selfishness of a no longer relevant Notre Dame football team and the near demise of the Big 12 on a selfish University of Texas.  The diffirence is in the conference managers.  The Big East has piece-mealed together a conference where the Big 12 has maintained that full participation is necessary to be a member.

Good bye Big East!  Give it up and let the defectors go their own way.  It has been your management that has destroyed your conference. 

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: November 5, 2011 12:50 am

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

Sad truth is that the Big East Conference and WVU are both victims here, having to sue each other because of the inevitable instability caused by the BCS system of automatic qualifying conferences. This is a system that makes the rich richer, unprovoked aggression the winner, and the good guys finish last. A lot of well meaning people are doing things that they don't like doing. The fans are totally disturbed on every board I've been reading for three months now and we're just not OK with it.

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