Although the Pittsburgh Panthers are opponents of the Seton Hall baseball team on the diamond this weekend, Pitt is making news off the field as the school is suing the Big East Conference, in hopes of leaving the conference a season early, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article from the Associated Press.
According to the article, Pittsburgh, who plans to leave the Big East for the ACC as of July 1, 2014, filed a complaint with the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in Pa. on Friday.
Pitt claims the Conference “has waived its right to enforce a 27-month withdrawal notice,” effectively allowing the Panthers to switch conferences a season early, by the 2013-14 season, without an increased financial penalty, according to the article.
In September 2011 Pittsburgh paid half of a $5 million “exit fee” when word spread that Pitt would be leaving the Big East alongside Syracuse University.
After the announcement, a whirlwind of changes occurred in the landscape of college athletics, including West Virginia announcing its move to the SEC Conference, and TCU’s entrance and exit from the Big East.
According to the article, Pittsburgh’s main claim in the case in their court papers is WVU and TCU not “provid(ing )27 months’ notice of withdrawal, the Big East knowingly and intentionally waived any right to enforce a 27-month withdrawal period.”
In addition to West Virginia and TCU being able to leave immediately and not having to give the Big East a 27- month grace period, Panthers spokesman Ed Borghetti said because of the conference’s additions of Memphis, SMU, Houston, Central Florida, and Temple for all sports, and Boise State, San Diego State and Navy for just football, beginning in 2013-14, Pitt should not have to stay in the conference an extra year.
“The Big East will actually have four more football playing schools and more schools overall than when we gave notice that we were moving to a different conference,” Borghetti said.
According to the article, because of the resignation of former Big East Commissioner John Marinatto on Monday and the appointment of interim-commissioner Joseph Bailey III, the “unsettled leadership” could be a cause for Pitt’s desire to leave the conference sooner than the date agreed upon.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.