UPDATED 7:30 p.m. ET: Already in a lawsuit battle with the Big East, West Virginia might be able to add Florida State to the list of entities pursuing litigation.
While we’re at it, anyone else want to sue? Now’s the time.
Florida State’s athletic director, Randy Spetman, told the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday that the school may pursue litigation against WVU for ditching the 2012 nonconference game with just seven months before the start of the regular season.
Spetman said FSU could pursue more damages than the $500,000 buyout — it was reported earlier as $350,000 — WVU would be obligated to pay if the Seminoles can’t find another team to fill that spot.
“We have the buyout, there’s that, and then there will be whatever liquidated damages,” Spetman said. “If we aren’t able to find another team, that’s what we’re going to have to look at.
“You’re talking about a lot of money.”
The Sentinel reports that Florida State has looked into nonconference games with Oklahoma, Texas A&M and others as a possible replacement for WVU. The Seminoles would prefer to not schedule a 1-AA opponent since they open the 2012 season Murray State.
In the tug-o-war between the Big 12 and the Big East over West Virginia’s 2012 conference allegiance, we’ve been dealing in connecting dots and context clues.
Consider this a pretty darn big clue.
A month ago, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that WVU was trying to get out of its game with Florida State for the 2012 season in anticipation of playing in the Big 12 — and a 9-game conference schedule — meaning WVU would have to throw one of its nonconference games by the wayside*.
As of Friday night, that game between the two sides has been cancelled via Florida State’s athletic site. Here’s the statement:
“We were informed in writing late Friday afternoon of West Virginia University’s intention to cancel its 2012 football game with Florida State University scheduled for September 8 in Tallahassee. We are disappointed for our coaches, players and fans that this game will not take place as originally scheduled. We now face the challenge of completing our 2012 schedule just seven months before the start of the season. We will work quickly and diligently to fill the hole on our schedule and will communicate with our season ticket holders and fans as the process moves forward.”
Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that West Virginia will be playing in the Big 12 next season, but it’s a significant indicator. A report earlier this week also said that Boise State was feeling pressure from the Big East to join this season, but Boise State’s president has since stated that it’s “too late” for any such moves.
The Big 12 also released its 2012 schedule, in private, to its TV partners earlier this week; it should be released publicly sometime this upcoming week. Additionally, both the Big East and WVU have been participating in non-binding mediation, a status conference for which has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9. On the surface, it doesn’t appear as though any headway has been made.
But that’s on the surface.
If this cancelled game points to anything, it’s that WVU will be in the Big 12 for the start of the 2012 season regardless of whatever financial penalties may result — that’s not even including the $350,000 WVU will pay to get out of the FSU game. But next week should hopefully yield some more definitive answers.
(*note: WVU was anticipating the arrival of TCU before the Horned Frogs went to the Big 12, so Big East football teams had four non-con games scheduled)