Friday, November 4, 2011

Big East Countersues West Virginia

The Big East Conference has filed suit against West Virginia University in Superior Court for the State of Rhode Island, Providence County. 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.

Here's what Big East commish John Marinatto had to say:

“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.”

Personally, while it may appear a bit petty of the Big East to be so defensive about holding teams for 27 months before they can withdraw, I'm actually all for it. Marinatto's leadership of the conference has been questionable at best since Mike Tranghese's retirement, but I'm with him on this one. What's the use of having bylaws in a contract if teams can just flout them at will, whenever a perceived better offer presents itself?

Ultimately, I'd be surprised if Syracuse, Pitt and WVU remain with the Big East for three more seasons, as they'd currently have to. It would be just too awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved to have three teams that don't want to be here sticking around for so long.

But they'll have to pay up, far more than just the current $5 million exit fee. Sort of like in baseball, if a GM for one team wants to leave to become GM of another team before his contract is through. There's got to be some sort of compensation for the team losing said GM -- or, in this case, the conference losing teams.



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