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?

Florida reportedly moving on from Chip Kelly, who may be headed to UCLA

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Over the past several days, it appeared that Florida had zeroed in on Chip Kelly as its next head coach.  On Black Friday, that appears to no longer be the case.

Earlier this afternoon, FootballScoop.com reported that coaches they’ve spoken to expect Kelly to choose UCLA as his destination for a return to college football.  Not long after, Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports reported that “Florida has moved on from Kelly” as its potential head coach and will move on to other, unnamed candidates.  Forde adds that “UCLA is the increasingly likely new destination for the former coach of the Oregon Ducks.”

Whether Florida moved on because Kelly informed them he was headed to UCLA or because they simply couldn’t reach an agreement is unknown at this time.

These reports come a couple of days after it was reported that UF was prepared to move on from Kelly if he didn’t make a decision in short order.

With Kelly apparently out of the picture in Gainesville, the Gators will very likely turn their attention to UCF’s Scott Frost and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.

If Frost is the target, UF will likely have some competition in the form of Frost’s alma mater Nebraska, which is expected to part ways with Mike Riley after the Cornhuskers’ regular-season finale.  MSU, meanwhile, is prepared to “go all in” to retain Mullen.

Report: Mississippi State set to go all in in effort to retain Dan Mullen

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The rumor mill is set to make yet another coach a much richer man.  Again.

While it appears that, at least for the moment, Florida is focused on Chip Kelly as its next head football coach, Dan Mullen‘s name has been mentioned as another realistic possibility to replace the dismissed Jim McElwain.  The connection makes sense as Mullen spent four seasons as UF’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Urban Meyer before leaving for Mississippi State, where he’s spent the past nine seasons as head coach.  Also, UF’s athletic director, Scott Stricklin, served in the same role in Starkville during a portion of Mullen’s time with the Bulldogs.

In addition to Florida, Tennessee is believed to maintain an interest in prying Mullen away as well.

In that vein, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that MSU is prepared to “go all in” in an attempt to keep Mullen.  How all in is the university? “The 45-year-old Mullen is already getting paid $4.5 million, but word is the school is willing to bump him up to around $6 million and also making an even stronger financial commitment to his staff,” Feldman wrote.

In his nine seasons, Mullen has guided the Bulldogs to a record of 69-46 overall and 33-39 in SEC play.  With the exception of 2014 (second), they’ve finished either fourth (2009, 2012) or fifth (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016) in the SEC West the last eight seasons; at 4-4, the best they’ll finish this season is tied for fourth.

Feldman’s report comes less than 24 hours after MSU, thanks in very large part to a gruesome first-half injury to its starting quarterback, lost its annual Egg Bowl matchup to Ole Miss.  That loss dropped Mullen’s record in that rivalry game to 5-4.  Prior to Mullen’s arrival in 2009, though, the Rebels had won five of the previous seven meetings in the series.

No. 2 Miami facing another halftime deficit, this time to Pitt

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For Miami, it’s deja vu all over again.

For the first quarter and half Black Friday afternoon, it was looking as if unbeaten and second-ranked Miami would be facing its fifth halftime deficit of the season as 4-7 Pitt was leading the Hurricanes 3-0 midway through the second quarter.  However, a 23-yard touchdown pass from Malik Rosier to Ahmmon Richards, which featured some nifty footwork from the latter to get into the end zone, gave the ‘Canes their first lead of the game with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.

However, a late Pitt touchdown at the end of freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett‘s six-yard scamper gave the Panthers a 10-7 lead heading into the halftime locker room.  Four times previously, UM has trailed at the half — Toledo (16-10), Florida State (3-0), Georgia Tech 14-13) and Virginia (21-14); each time, the Hurricanes came from behind to win.

As the score hints at, neither offense could muster much production, with the Panthers holding a 175-108 edge in yards.  The U’s much-discussed and mega-hyped turnover chain made a pair of appearances, but the Hurricanes couldn’t convert either turnover into points; in fact, the Pitt defense forced three-and-outs on each occasion.

If the Hurricanes can come from behind yet again, they will finish off a perfect 12-0 regular season for the first time since 2002.  That team made it to the BCS title game but lost to Ohio State.

Miami will get the ball to start the second half.

Starting Iowa State corner Brian Peavy arrested for criminal mischief

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The Thanksgiving holiday wasn’t an especially positive one for one member of the Iowa State football program.

According to the Des Moines Register, Brian Peavy was arrested Thursday evening on one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.  The starting cornerback was subsequently released from the county jail a short time later after posting an unspecified bond.

From the Register‘s report:

Ames Police Department Sgt. Christine Crippen said police responded to a call around 5:06 p.m. regarding possible vandalism taking place in a skate park in Ames.

Police discovered Peavy and another male spray-painting underneath a bridge near the park. Peavy and the other male ran when approached by police. Peavy was caught while the other male escaped.

WHO-TV reports that an ISU spokesperson confirmed that Peavy remains in good standing with the team and will play in Saturday’s game against Kansas State.  ISU heads into the weekend with an outside shot at clinching a berth in the Big 12 championship game, pending the result of today’s Baylor-TCU game.

Peavy currently leads the Cyclones in pass breakups with seven; is tied for second in interceptions with two, and is third in tackles with 75.  The redshirt junior has been an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection each of the past two seasons.