MORGANTOWN – West Virginia University has filed a lawsuit against the Big East Conference to be able to move quickly to the Big XII.
WVU's move to the Big 12 was announced Oct. 28. But, after that announcement, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto announced that the conference intended to hold WVU to a conference bylaw that requires an exiting school to give at least 27 months notice of its departure from the conference.
The lawsuit was filed Oct. 31 in Monongalia Circuit Court with WVU seeking a circuit judge to void the Big East conference rules and allow WVU to go ahead and join the Big XII to begin play in 2012.
WVU cites the exits of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC and Texas Christian University's move to the Big XII even before it became an official member of the Big East as examples of how the Big East has deteriorated as a football conference.
"As the Big East, in less than two months, had denigrated into a non-major football conference whose continued existence is in serious jeopardy, WVU had no choice but to accept the Big XII's offer," WVU's complaint, filed by Morgantown attorney Steve LaCagnin, states. "The denigration of the Big East football conference is a direct and proximate result of ineffective leadership and breach of fiduciary duties to the football schools by the Big East Conference and its commissioner."
WVU is seeking for the court to issue an injunction prohibiting the conference from blocking WVU's move to the Big XII next year and for compensatory damages.
WVU intends to leave the Big East June 30, 2012, and join the Big XII July 1, 2012. The school's Board of Governors claims the Big East has already accepted the $2.5 million wired to the conference as part of the $5 million exit fee.
The Board of Governors also claims the conference did not uphold its end of the agreement because it allowed the conference to become unstable with several previous schools' departures. Texas Christian University was not required to give 27-months notice when it announced plans to leave the conference last month, according to the suit.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 11-C-695