The Big East has asked a Rhode Island judge for a preliminary injunction ordering West Virginia to stay in the conference according to the 27-month waiting period as dictated in the conference’s bylaws.
You can read the 29-page injunction HERE, but it essentially reiterates the conference’s litigation against WVU: that the institution’s move to the Big 12 by next year causes irreparable damage to the Big East. The newly expanded Big East that includes Boise State, San Diego State, et al, won’t take effect until 2013.
The injunction, filed Dec. 14, says “given the unambiguous withdrawal provisions in the Bylaws — which WVU (a) helped draft and (b) reaffirmed as recently as October 17, 2011 — the BIG EAST has a strong likelihood of success on its merits. The Bylaws require WVU to participate in BIG EAST athletics through the 2013-14 seasons; WVU has breached the Bylaws by announcing its intent to play in the Big 12 Conference for the 2012-13 seasons.”
Indeed, Big East members voted unanimously to raise the exit fees and reaffirm exit bylaws. And, just like every other Big East member, WVU was playing both hands in doing so. With Pitt and Syracuse already announcing they would leave for the ACC in September, and with TCU leaving for the Big 12, I’m not sure there was a single Big East football member who wasn’t on the phone with another conference trying to sell their program.
At the same time, they had keep moving forward with the Big East as though everything was peachy. Remember, the increased exit fee was reportedly a prerequisite for schools like Boise State and Navy to join the Big East.
So, the question becomes if WVU voted to reaffirm the Big East exit bylaws on Oct. 17 knowing full well that the conference had already lost three members, and then filed suit against the conference on Oct. 31… how did the conference degenerate more in that two week span?
The motion also goes on to state the myriad ways the Big East suffers — TV rights deals with ESPN and CBS, lost money from scheduling conflicts and less exposure through fewer games, recruiting, etc — but that WVU does not suffer no matter which conference they play in from 2012-14.
The purpose of the motion for injunction is to keep things in the status quo. If the conference is able to move along as is for the next year until its expansion can take full effect, then the conference will not be damaged in any way.
In a related story, the Big East’s motion to dismiss the WVU lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Monongalia County was denied today by a judge. We should know sometime this week the ruling on WVU’s motion to dismiss the Big East’s lawsuit in Providence, Rhode Island.
A trial had been tentatively set for June 25, 2012; WVU has maintained they will be a member of the Big 12 by July 1, 2012.