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West Virginia sues Big East for breach of contract

Many folks in New Jersey may be following the ebb and flow of college football teams that are considering different conferences and jumping to different conferences. Colorado made the move to join the Pac-12 last year, and Nebraska joined the Big Ten this year. To recover from hemorrhaging losses, the Big 12 is looking to add schools. One school considering a move to the Big 12 is West Virginia, but first West Virginia has to address its contract with the Big East. As a result West Virginia has filed a breach of contract suit against the Big East.

In an attempt to leave the Big East, West Virginia filed a breach of contract suit against the power conference and blames the lack of stability in the league on the league’s commissioner John Marinatto.

West Virginia claims that the Big East failed to take any action to guard the remaining football schools after the departure of TCU, Syracuse and Pitt. The departure of those three football schools created sufficient instability that Rutgers, UConn and Cincinnati began talks to possibly join the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC or ACC. The breach of contract suit also alleges that the commissioner of the Big East failed to take action to preserve the competitive integrity of the league.

West Virginia also argues in its suit that because of the loss of three schools and the potential loss of more football schools the Big East will lose the status of being an automatic Bowl Championship Series (BCS) qualifying conference.

The Big East believes that West Virginia needs to abide by a 27-month waiting period before it can exit the conference. West Virginia is asking for a court injunction to declare the waiting period as void or to apply $2.5 million the school has already paid the conference to buy its way out of the waiting period.

The commissioner of the Big East says the school is not eligible to leave the conference until July 1, 2014. The Mountaineers say they will be full members of the Big 12 in 2012.

Source:, “West Virginia files lawsuit against Big East,” Andrea Adelson, Nov. 1, 2011

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