Big East says letter sent by WVU not proper withdrawal method

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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 BlueGoldNews.com, 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?

Report: North Texas adds FCS running back transfer

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North Texas is adding running back Loren Easly to the roster, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Saturday.

Easly spent the past two seasons at Stephen F. Austin, a member of the FCS Southland Conference. A Houston native, he appeared in 20 games over two seasons as a Lumberjack, carrying 213 times for 1,256 yards with 11 touchdowns while adding 17 catches for 139 yards.

Denton Record-Chronicle reporter Brett Vito confirmed the transfer on his Twitter account.

As an interdivisional transfer, Easly will be able to play immediately with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He would join a backfield led by rising senior Jeffrey Wilson, who paced the Mean Green with 936 yards and 14 touchdowns on 169 carries in 2016.

Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger signs extension, vows to fix football

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Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has signed an extension to remain on the job through the 2020-21 academic year, the school announced Sunday.

Zenger has been on the job since 2011, meaning the new deal will take him past the decade mark in Lawrence.

“Since Sheahon’s arrival in Jan. 2011, Kansas Athletics has enjoyed success on and off the field,” Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement. “I am confident that under Sheahon’s leadership Athletics will experience even more success in the coming years.”

Zenger did not hire Bill Self, but he did hire Charlie Weis, which cost KU more than $5.6 million in buyout money after he was fired for going 6-22 leading the Jayhawks from 2012-14.

David Beaty was since hired to run the program, who has infused an outlook brighter than his 2-22 record would suggest.

Zenger said the new contract will allow him to fix football. Via the Kansas City Star:

Under Zenger’s watch, KU has most notably added numerous construction projects, including Rock Chalk Park and the DeBruce Center, which houses the original rules of basketball. He has spoken previously about completing those ventures to “clear the deck” financially so focus could be placed on football and Memorial Stadium renovations — two things he now says are “really the top priorities for me in the next four years.”

“We want it to be a place that people just love to come to,” Zenger said of Memorial Stadium. “We have such history there. I think it’s the greatest setting in the nation for college football. We just need to get it to the point where it’s a place that’s just revered.”

The extension includes a raise from a base salary of $619,000 to $700,000.

Alleged victim of Tennessee WR Josh Smith threatens $3 million civil suit

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Earlier this month, Tennessee wide receiver Josh Smith was charged with domestic assault following an incident at an off-campus house with his roommate. Now, the roommate is seeking damages of $875,000. If that sum is not paid, then the alleged victim may bring a $3 million civil suit to the court.

According to Jimmy Hyams of WNML, Kennedy Foster suffered a broken nose, broken teeth and damage to his eyes and right ear in the incident earlier this month that led to the charges filed against Smith. Foster sent a settlement demand letter to the attorney representing Smith.

“I’m not accusing him (Foster) of extortion, but that’s what it looks like,’’ Smith’s attorney, Keith Stewart said according to Hyams. “Given my understanding that Mr. Foster’s attempts to press charges against Malcolm Stokes were unsuccessful, it seems his motives are clear.’’

“I think when the truth comes out, Josh will be exonerated,” Stewart said of his client.

The deadline for paying the settlement demand is set for May 30 (tomorrow) by 5:00 p.m. and is to be delivered in the form of a cashier’s check along with a letter of apology for the incident. If the Smith family does not pay the requested sum, the legal team for Foster will move forward with a $1.5 million lawsuit seeking compensatory damages and a $1.5 million lawsuit for punitive damages. How either will hold up in court remains to be seen.

How some college football teams are recognizing Memorial Day on Twitter

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It’s not Memorial Day until the social media teams at college football programs start pumping out branded Memorial Day messages on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. As expected, teams and conferences are busy at pumping out the social media content for their followers today. Here is a sampling of what has been seen so far.

If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to read John’s annual Memorial Day post.