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Big East says letter sent by WVU not proper withdrawal method

John Marinatto AP

As one would expect, the lawsuit between West Virginia and the Big East over when the school can leave to join their new conference, the Big 12, has gotten ugly.

Just over a week ago, WVU made it known they planned on joining the Big 12 on July 1 of next year. A lawsuit by the school the following Monday claimed, among many other things, that the Big East’s degeneration wasn’t keeping the conference attractive enough for BCS inclusion past 2013. Therefore, the 27-month notification and waiting period was null.

In so many words, WVU is arguing is that because the Big East didn’t “uphold their end of the deal” (“breach of fiduciary duties” is how the lawsuit describes it), the conference bylaws cannot be applied to the institution as it attempts to get out early.

WVU also noted, in their belief, that the conference had conceded to letting the school out early because it had accepted $2.5 million in an proposal to withdraw letter from WVU — half of the $5 million exit fee* the conference employed. That belief was in context to the fact that the Big East had allowed TCU to only pay the exit fee and not wait 27 months before leaving for the Big 12.

(*note: WVU wanted to make the Big 12 move official ASAP to avoid any increase in exit fees took effect; conference presidents voted unanimously to raise the exit fees to $10 million)

Below is the explanation in the lawsuit reflecting that belief under Count 1: Declaratory Judgement.

40. In addition, WVU recently submitted an offer to the Commissioner proposing that WVU be permitted to immediately withdraw from the Big East in exchange for a payment of certain monies with this offer

41. Following receipt of of the aforementioned offer or proposal, the Commissioner accepted WVU’s tendered enclosed payment, thus accepting WVU’s offer or proposal to immediately withdraw from the BigEast on the terms that WVU had submitted.  

Thanks to, the proposal was made pubic via Freedom of Information Act. The proposal is dating Oct. 28, the same day WVU announced its plan to move to the Big 12.

On the same day — Oct. 28 — Marinatto replied back with the following e-mail

The Big East has since filed a countersuit against WVU, demanding the institution comply with conference bylaws. The Big East maintains that WVU intends to breach contract and intentionally injure “the reputation, goodwill and financial interests of the Big East and is members.”

The countersuit cites that a departure by WVU in 2012 would cause “irreparable” damages in scheduling and negotiation of the reduction of TV rights by ESPN and CBS — two media rights holders for the Big East.

John Marinatto‘s e-mail states that Clements’ proposal was not a proper withdrawal method, therefore the acceptance of the $2.5 million buyout money was not a concession to WVU’s desire to exit the Big East early. Article 11.02(b) of the Big East bylaws says any an attempt by an institution to leave early causes irreparable damages “for which there is no adequate remedy of law”, and that the school is required to stay the 27 months.

In the eyes of the Big East, WVU didn’t even give the correct notification of withdrawal, so how in the world do they have a good enough case to get them out of the conference early?

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10 Responses to “Big East says letter sent by WVU not proper withdrawal method”
  1. ancientcougar says: Nov 7, 2011 9:02 PM

    WVU is getting ready to become football irrevelant;
    The Cowboys in the Big 12 are going to show them the world.

  2. harleyspoon says: Nov 7, 2011 9:56 PM

    As long as WVU can recruit football players, they will be relevant….

  3. drummerhoff says: Nov 7, 2011 10:01 PM

    Schools that make-up the Big East have departed. The “product” has changed so much that it is significantly different. This is, by definition, a material breach.

  4. thefiesty1 says: Nov 7, 2011 10:30 PM

    Fiasco! The BE is a joke of a conference.

  5. usmcbronzestar says: Nov 8, 2011 12:14 AM

    Everyone knows they will not have to wait the 27 months anyway. Just stop screwing around and end the mess.

  6. norcalirish says: Nov 8, 2011 7:17 AM

    I’m loving every minute of this! Lmao

  7. giablommi says: Nov 8, 2011 9:30 AM

    “Fiasco! The BE is a joke of a conference.”
    Excuse me?

    – WVU was so desperate to get out of the Big
    East that they completely bungled this entire process. Luck and the school president look like buffoons.

    In these economic times, you don’t think that the tens of millions WVU is going to pay in penalties for their illegal actions couldn’t be better distributed among schools, government programs and job training to assist one of the most impoverished areas of the country?

    – Big XII openly boasted that WVU would be a member as of July 2012. Not only will that NOT happen, but the Big East now has recourse to collect damages from them as well for actively encouraging WVU to breach their contract. I hope they do.

    – Your Big East haters have very little substance. The Big East football conference will emerge from this crisis stronger than it was before. Sorry.

  8. Derty Ernie says: Nov 8, 2011 10:13 AM

    WVU should just sit out the season and not play anywhere. Really?
    Pay the fine or whatever and shut up.

  9. tcole922 says: Nov 19, 2011 11:33 AM

    Please. The Big East Conference has basically hung its survival on WVU. It was WVU who single- handedly saved the Big East years ago by defeating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl then Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl 2 years after that. The Big East is so desperate for survival that it is adding teams from Colorao, Utah, Idaho, and Texas. The Big East is destined to to be relegated to a conference no better than the MAC. They will then face more departures and possibly lawsuits when they lose AQ status by teams that are only joining on because of the AQ status. Personally I think a fair compromise would be the up the buyout to 7.5 million and allow WVU to leave after the 2012 season.

  10. Admin says: Nov 20, 2011 3:04 AM

    The Big East seriously needs to get over themselves. This is, quite honestly, not about the Big East. It is about what is best for WVU, their student athletes and supporters/fans. The Big East, in their response/behavior is proving to be selfish and showing they could care less about anyone but themselves and their own interests and frankly they should be ashamed of themselves. I implore the Big East to do the right thing and simply allow WVU to move on to the Big 12. It’s what’s best for the people who truly matter.

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