“The University of Pittsburgh filed suit against The Big East Conference in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas this afternoon for allowing two opponents — 2011 Rose Bowl winner Texas Christian University and 2012 Orange Bowl winner West Virginia University — to withdraw early and without penalty from the conference.
Conference officials’ decision, the complaint states, has cost the University of Pittsburgh lost ticket sales, buyout fees and game fees for two valuable home football games those opponents scheduled, then abandoned, leaving Pitt scrambling to find replacements at additional cost.”
So what’s the impetus here? I mean, obviously Pittsburgh wants out and would like to join their ACC brethren sooner rather than later, but does this mean that process is on hold now? Several times before he was removed from his position, former Big East commish John Marinatto stated that he was working to negotiate Pittsburgh and Syracuse‘s release. But no word on an official end date. Now, with Boise State suddenly a bit scared off, the league’s no longer on the “solid footing” it believed itself to be. Given all that, there may now be a real motivating factor to keep them as long as they can (until 2014).
But what about Syracuse? No word from the administration of yet, but honestly, I’m unsure if there will be. Pittsburgh and Syracuse were silent during the West Virginia lawsuit/exit fiasco, and overall, it appeared that both schools came out of that situation looking much better than they had previously. Yet, Pitt’s fine with rocking the boat now? When they’re so close to getting out? Of course, this lends to the problem above about leverage.
Beyond the leverage issue, there’s also the problem of their respective 2012 schedules. As the official statement reads, losing TCU and WVU on the schedule, the Panthers had to scramble to fill those dates. They got Gardner-Webb and Big-East-filler Temple. So yeah, not exactly an even trade. Syracuse, on the other hand, grabbed Missouri (newly minted in the SEC), and the same Owls, but both on the road, losing the gate receipt for one game (Missouri, which subs for TCU). Different results, competitively, but neither’s better off at all after the Frogs and Mountaineers bounced.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for what happens next, but the hope is that one way or another, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are no longer in the Big East come July 1, 2013.
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