Okay, now it’s on.
Just four days after West Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Big East over the right to move to their new conference, the Big 12, the Big East has fired back with its own countersuit.
WVU, which had announced its intentions to join the Big 12 by July 1 of next year, filed its suit on Monday in the Circuit Court of Monongalia County (WV) and claimed “the denigration of the Big East football conference is a direct and proximate result of lack of leadership and breach of fiduciary duties to the football schools by the Big East and its commissioner.”
The important portion of that lawsuit not related to accusations against the Big East is the filing of the suit in Monongalia County; call it a home field advantage if you want to stick with sporting analogies. It’s no surprise, then, that the Big East has filed its countersuit in the Superior Court for the State of Rhode Island, Providence County. That would be the location of Big East headquarters.
The full text of the countersuit can be found HERE.
“This breach of contract lawsuit seeks an order requiring West Virginia to comply with the BIG EAST Bylaws, as well as damages resulting from West Virginia’s improper attempted withdrawal in violation of those Bylaws,” an official statement from the conference reads. Additionally, commissioner John Marinatto offered the following statement:
“Today’s legal action underscores The BIG EAST Conference’s stated position that it will vigorously pursue the enforcement of its rights and West Virginia University’s obligations under the conference’s Bylaws which West Virginia formally agreed to and helped construct*.”
It’s absolutely worth noting that where this lawsuit will be fought can, and likely will, play a huge role in how this whole mess works out. If nothing else, it could very well influence the amount of money in penalties WVU would be asked to pay if the case settled, which is more than likely WVU’s main goal. Drawing out this lawsuit would be detrimental to both sides, especially when it comes to scheduling.
From the Big East’s perspective, they plan on having WVU a part of that schedule for the next two seasons. Below is a statement issued by the Big East presidents:
“We, the Presidents of the member institutions of the Big East Conference, strongly support the litigation filed today by the Big East Conference against West Virginia University.
“We believe that it is important to protect the integrity of the interests of the Big East Conference and its member institutions, and we are confident that these interests will prevail.”
In their introductory teleconference last week, WVU athletic director Oliver Luck and president James Clements sounded confident that the school would be able to join the Big 12 next year. There was some speculation that WVU’s Big 12 membership would be contingent upon the school’s ability to join at that time; interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas has since stated there is no such caveat.
How this will all transpire still remains to be seen. What is known is that Rich Rodriguez is hardcore LOLing and trolling right about now.
(*note: WVU did indeed help craft the 27-month notification bylaw. WVU is not arguing the existence of the bylaw, but rather that the bylaw is null because of a material breach of contract by the Big East)