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West Virginia Files Suit To Leave The Big East

In an effort to speed up the school's transition to the Big 12, West Virginia filed suit against their former conference, the Big East, on Monday.

The Big East has a provisional 27-month waiting period to leave the conference, which, if enforced, means the Mountaineers cannot join the Big 12 until 2014.

In the suit, West Virginia's lawyers contend that the Big East breached their contract with the school by failing to protect it after the conference lost Syracuse, Pittsburgh and TCU. They also question whether it will be able to maintain its AQ berth during the next round of BCS negotiations, as the remaining football schools -- Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers -- have all been talking to other conferences as well.

The suit places the blame for the Mountaineers departure at the feet of new Big East commissioner John Marinatto, saying that "the denigration of the Big East conference is a direct and proximate result of ineffective leadership and a breach of fiduciary duties to the football schools by the Big East Conference and its commissioner."

Marinatto, in turn, dismissed the suit, saying that West Virginia has no grounds to void their contract: "Certainly there is nothing in it that would would justify WVU's not fulfilling its obligations," he said in a statement Monday. "To put it simply, a contract is a contract."

In the past, such suits between schools have usually been settled out of court, but the bad blood created by the latest round of conference realignment might make it harder for both sides to agree to split amicably. 

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.