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Big East to force Pitt, Syracuse to stay until 2014

John Marinatto AP

Big East bylaws state that, in addition to paying a $5 million exit fee, a member institution is required to give the conference 27 months notice that they will be leaving for another league.

We thought that timeline was negotiable.  At least in the here and now, it’s very much not.

Speaking to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, Big East commissioner John Marinatto stated unequivocally the his conference will hold Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the 27-month timeline mandated by the league.  Such a stance, if it’s staunchly adhered to, would mean neither school could officially move to the ACC until a couple of months before the start of the 2014 football season.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said, during the media teleconference Sunday announcing Pittsburgh and Syracuse had been accepted into his league, that his conference’s membership would have no issue abiding by the Big East’s bylaws.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that, once the anger over getting poached subsides, the Big East could become “flexible” and allow the two schools to depart earlier than currently permitted, particularly if the Big East is able to add new members in the interim.  There are already rumblings that there could be some type of Big East-Big 12 merger depending on how the Oklahoma-Texas-Oklahoma State-Texas Tech situation plays out; all Marinatto would say on that front is that “we’ve had a number of schools reach out to us about membership.”

He did, though, seem to hint at the merger talk that’s surfaced of late.

“In addition, obviously, the dynamics that are taking place within the college landscape today may create even greater opportunities for the conference to not only survive, but thrive,” the commissioner told the Times.

Despite the Big East’s current stance, both Pittsburgh and Syracuse remain hopeful they will be able to join the ACC in time for the start of the 2012 season.

Marinatto also stated that the current members “are focused on maintaining the current structure of the conference and moving forward.”  Since Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their move to the ACC, reports have surfaced that UConn and Rutgers are eyeing a move to the same conference — the latter the Big Ten as well — while West Virginia may be angling for the SEC.

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18 Responses to “Big East to force Pitt, Syracuse to stay until 2014”
  1. southernpatriots says: Sep 20, 2011 9:02 AM

    Since the Big East may be feeling cheated on the exit fee, when the ACC now gets $20 million, they want 27 months of their discontent? Probably the Big East is feeling slighted and thinks either they will punish Pitt and Syracuse and send a message to any other schools who may be thinking about leaving.

    Meanwhile, they may approve a much larger exit fee to make it problematic for other schools to leave (as did the ACC).

  2. cubano76 says: Sep 20, 2011 9:04 AM

    Friggin John Marinatto reminds me of the girl I broke up with in High School, who refused to give me my letterman jacket back. Boy, I hope he doesn’t wind up crank calling Pitt & Cuse, and egging their schools!

  3. soflatrojan says: Sep 20, 2011 9:15 AM

    The Big East should have lost its automatic BCS bid a long time ago. Even if they merge with Big 12 they should still lose the bid.

    Its a great basketball conference but absolute garbage in football.

  4. bmmayhew says: Sep 20, 2011 9:19 AM

    Haters gonna hate.

  5. drummerhoff says: Sep 20, 2011 9:21 AM

    The BigEast just turned down a multi-million dollar TV deal in favor of negotiating the TV contract next year. How does Marinatto expect to get the best deal available (for the basketball only members) when (some of) his inventory has an expiration date?
    Yeah … it will be hard to hold any school to the 27 months after the basketball only schools go their own way and the conference doesn’t exist.

  6. editordon says: Sep 20, 2011 9:36 AM

    My hunch is that both Pitt and Syracuse have attorneys who think they can beat this 27-month requirement. Ive known about that all along and it did not deter them. They also know the Big East will either change by adding other teams or implode. Either way, they figure they are good to go.

  7. paintan8 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:23 AM

    He also said no one will go to the ACC Tournament if they play it in Madison Square Garden. He lives in his fantasy world, the rest of us live in reality. Pitt and ‘Cuse will be in the ACC by 2013.

  8. fcmlefty1 says: Sep 20, 2011 11:14 AM

    I think its safe to say that we’ll just have to be patient and see how this plays out. With all the upheval and quick moves going on right now, nobody is really going to want to wait until the 2014 season for the last pieces to fall into place. I think it’ll all be in place for the 2013 seasona t the latest, but we’ll see…

  9. mattcox says: Sep 20, 2011 11:25 AM

    As an alum of another BE school, I don’t care if Pitt and ‘Cuse want to leave, neither of them have been adding much to the football side of the conference for awhile now. Every school is free to decide on the best course for them, but what I found pathetic is that neither school had the decency to inform Marinatto nor the rest of the conference that they were making a move that would have significant impact on the rest of the membership. Marinatto is an incompetent buffoon, but the conference commissioner and the other member schools deserve at least a heads-up so they can begin to implement their own plans – or is that what Pitt and Syracuse were afraid of? Being outmaneuvered by potentially more attractive schools? Marinatto is completely justified in holding these two schools to the contract that they signed up for. Integrity is obviously not a core value for either institution, which possibly explains the grumbles coming from their supporters.

  10. pastabelly says: Sep 20, 2011 11:34 AM

    The funny thing right now is that the Big 12 is saying that the Big East would merge into the Big 12. If that happens, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have no obligation to move to the Big 12 and they would just move the ACC in 2012. The ACC should just put the Big East out of its misery and accept UConn now and ask Notre Dame if it wants the final spot. That would just about do it.

  11. salmon88 says: Sep 20, 2011 12:00 PM

    The Big East is serious basketball and a money grabber when it comes to football. They are second tier in football and will remain so until professional football quits playing. They need to concentrate on what they do best and move on.

  12. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 12:54 PM

    If the Big East merges with what’s left of the Big 12, I hope they call themselves the East 12 or something other than Big. The Big 10 should be the only Big conference–and should change its name to reflect its new membership number. Both Rutgers and Mizzou would be a good match for the Big 10. If they took Kansas as well, they’d be at 14.

    I’d love for the SEC to poach GaTech. With A&M, that would put us at 14–but with the addition of Pitt and Syracuse would leave the ACC at 13. Of course, if we poached FSU or Clemson as well and took on WVU, we’d be at 16. The ACC could take in Texas and Texas Tech and be at 14. All even 😉

  13. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 1:07 PM

    Okay, the NYT guy on the other thread doesn’t think the Big 10 will move anytime soon or that Texas will go to the ACC. So if we could poach GaTech to even out at 14, the ACC could let in poor UConn. Then the SEC could stand pat. That would work for me.

  14. florida727 says: Sep 20, 2011 4:34 PM

    southernpatriots says:
    Sep 20, 2011 9:02 AM
    Meanwhile, they may approve a much larger exit fee to make it problematic for other schools to leave (as did the ACC).


    Hey “southern…”, interesting thought. I wonder if a simple majority is required to pass such an addendum to their bylaws, or must all agree?

    Wonder what would happen next year, or the year after, if Pitt or Syracuse literally just didn’t show up for an away game or eight? I find the legal side of this conference realignment thing very interesting.

    Hey “Deb”, guessing you posted before seeing the article that the SEC turned down West Thank God Virginia (ask anyone from WV if you need an explanation). Doesn’t mean they’d never accept them of course, but financially it makes no sense. There’s no appreciable television market (read: REVENUE) that WV brings to the table. Hence, a polite ‘no thank you’.

  15. montcomd says: Sep 20, 2011 4:41 PM

    The ACC and Big East are competing for the same TV market. The secrecy of the move by Sracuse and Pitt was in hopes of damaging the Big East as much as possible by the time the ACC renegotiates it’s TV contract. Those teams moved to delay the Big East from inking a new TV contract as another move to disadvantage the Big East to the benefit of the ACC. The premeditation of all this is in the ACC’s existing TV contract that allows for renegotiation if teams are added.
    The Big East should meet with the Big 12 AND TV executives to stike a simultaneous merger/6 year TV contract, load the contract with revenue in years 4-6, hold Pitt and Syr to the 27 months, and schedule reject games for them during that time. The result will be a 2 year recruiting gap and revenue void for those schools. The ACC can have what’s left of their programs.

  16. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 6:00 PM

    @florida727 …

    Well, of course I posted before seeing that article since that article wasn’t on the board then. But I’ve said a gazillion times that if we’re going with A&M, all I really want is GaTech for eastern balance. And I enjoy my pissy lil fan base with their thumbs down. My ancestors were country people. They used to eat squirrel. 😀 As for revenue … I care more about preserving the traditional rivalries and the geographic intelligence of the SEC than I do about tee-vee footprints.

  17. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 6:48 PM

    Good grief, florida727, did I say something about going after WVU? With the nasty things some of their fans are saying about the South, I don’t ever want to see them in the SEC. Yay, Slive.

  18. pdmjr says: Sep 20, 2011 8:00 PM

    Bothe Pitts and Syracuse stink in football so the ACC can wait for the stink to wear off

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