Big East responds with lawsuit against West Virginia

Andrew Krammer

The Big East conference filed a lawsuit through the Rhode Island Superior Court in Providence – the location of the Big East’s headquarters – on Friday that charges West Virginia with breach of contract. 

The suit orders the Mountaineers, who have already attended a Big 12 welcoming party, to abide by the 27-month waiting period and other bylaws, pushing the school’s exit back to July 1, 2014. 

West Virginia had filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Big East to become a member of the Big 12 before next football season.

 

The Big 12 announced that they had accepted the Mountaineers late last month, but the Big East is sticking to its conference bylaws that require a 27-month notice before a school can withdraw.

West Virginia’s lawsuit claims that the Big East’s bylaws are invalid and breached its fiduciary duty to West Virginia by failing to maintain a balance between football-playing and non-football members.

West Virginia is the next school to leave the Big East, following behind Pittsburgh, Syracuse and would-have prospect Texas Christian.

The Mountaineers were the strongest football contender the Big East had remaining and the conference will now struggle to keep its automatic Bowl Championship Series spot with only five football programs left.

In the Big 12, current member Missouri is materializing their bid to the Southeastern Conference. The Big 12 wants a balanced 10 teams, but currently has 11 and is assuming the “inevitable” departure of Missouri with their addition of West Virginia.

Missouri to the SEC would net the school an extra $12 million in revenue per year, according to the New York Times.

According to the same report, West Virginia is also likely to make more money by leaving the Big East since the Big 12 just recently agreed to start sharing TV revenue equally. The Big 12 distributed $139 million to its members in 2010, compared to the $113 million dished out to the Big East’s 16 all-sport programs. 

The SEC took Texas A&M from the Big 12 earlier this month and is looking to make Missouri its 14th member.