Tag:West Virginia Lawsuit
Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 12:41 pm
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Pitt, Syracuse not likely on 2012 ACC schedule

Posted by Chip Patterson

With very little warning, the ACC made one of the most prominent moves in conference realignment in the middle of the 2011 regular season with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East. The bylaw-mandated 27-month exit period was thought to be negotiable, but all signs from Big East commissioner John Marinatto indicate that the league will hold all departing members to full withdrawal process.

Following the process outlined in the bylaws would hold off the conference move until the 2014-2015 academic year. While the ACC has made it clear they are prepared to work with the Big East to get Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the league sooner, they have not made any legal efforts to expedite the process. With the release of the ACC regular season schedule coming in early February, it is beginning to look unlikely that either school will be in the ACC for the 2012 season.

"You never say never, but it's unlikely there would be major changes once [the schedule] is set," Mike Finn, ACC associate commissioner in charge of football communications, told The Charlotte Observer.

The SEC and Pac-12 have both released their conference schedules for 2012, and the rest of the major conferences will likely follow suit in the next several weeks. The ACC released the 2011 league schedule on Feb. 14.

While the ACC seems comfortable waiting out the exit period, West Virginia is having a much more difficult time leaving the Big East. Both the school and the conference have filed competing lawsuits regarding West Virginia's plans to join the Big 12, and a Rhode Island judge has ordered both parties to enter non-binding mediation. West Virginia hopes to reach a settlement allowing the school to join the Big 12 in time for the 2012 season, while the league has no plans of making exception to the bylaws. A status conference has been scheduled for Feb. 9, as both parties hope to reach a resolution before the Big East and Big 12 release their conference schedules.

When the Big East releases their schedule for 2012, I would expect to see West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse on the slate. If the Big 12 includes West Virginia as well, it could lead to potentially massive headaches for both conferences. It seems as though the ACC is content avoiding the legalities and welcoming their new additions at a later date.

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Posted on: November 30, 2011 9:31 am
 

WVU files motion to dismiss Big East suit

Posted by Chip Patterson

The ongoing legal battle between West Virginia and the Big East entered the next phase of litigation this week, with the school filing a motion to dismiss the Big East's lawsuit against the university.

[PDF: Read the 133-page motion, obtained by the Charleston Gazette]

West Virginia fired first in this legal battle, filing a lawsuit against the Big East seeking an exit before the 2012-2013 academic year. The league then responded days later with their own lawsuit against West Virginia, filed in Rhode Island Superior Court.

The motion from West Virginia, filed this week to the Rhode Island Superior Court, makes four key points as to why the suit should be dismissed. The primary claim from the school is that Rhode Island's courts don't have jurisdiction over the state of West Virginia. The language in the motion clearly ties the university to the state itself, at one point referring to themselves as "an alter ego of the State of West Virginia."

Finally, the school's lawyers make reference to the "essentially identical" suit brought against the Big East by the West Virginia Board of Governors. The motion requests that if the Big East's suit in Rhode Island is not dismissed, it at least be put on hold until the resolution of the initial action from West Virginia.

As expected, there is no bright light at the end of this legal tunnel yet. As the conference and school will likely continue to wage war in court for the foreseeable. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, the clock is ticking if they want to be able to get Big 12 conference play in 2012. If the Big East wants to hold the school for the 27-month withdrawal period in the bylaws, extended legal battles is one way to spend that time.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 4:37 pm
 

Big East files lawsuit against West Virginia

Posted by Chip Patterson

PDF: Read the official complaint, filed in the Rhode Island Superior Court

When West Virginia held their teleconference to announce the move to the Big 12, the most popular question was how the Mountaineers planned to compete in their new conference in the 2012-2013 season with a 27-month withdrawal required by Big East bylaws.

At the time, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck answered several times that "our people are working with their people to make that happen."

Apparently that did not work out well for the Mountaineers, with the school filing a lawsuit against the Big East earlier this week so it can join the Big 12.

After Commissioner John Marinatto issued his statement of disappointment, the Big East decided to take action themselves. On Friday, the conference announced they are pursuing legal action against West Virginia.

The conference filed a suit in the Superior Court for the State of Rhode Island, Providence County. It is described as a "breach of contract lawsuit" and seeks an order requiring West Virginia to comply with Big East bylaws. These bylaws include the 27 months for exit, as well as payment of the exit fee.

“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,” Marinatto said in the official release.

This action comes as no surprise, as the presidents of the Big East schools voted to hold exiting members to the 27-month requirement in an annual meeting on Tuesday. What comes next? A long and confusing legal battle over conference responsibilities. Nobody wins, except the lawyers. 

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