Mar 6, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers mascot gets the crowd to make some noise during the second half of the first round against the St. John's Red Storm at the Big East Tournament held at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
The University of Pittsburgh has filed suit against the Big East Conference to withdraw from the conference without penalty and in time for the 2013-14 season.
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.
The last we had head, former commissioner John Marinatto had been open to the possibility of Pitt and Syracuse leaving the conference a year early. So what's changed? John Marinatto is no longer commissioner of the Big East Conference, for one. Pitt may be worried that the Big East's next commissioner may be less willing to allow Syracuse and Pittsburgh jump to the ACC a year earlier than contractually obligated.
Pitt might also be worried that Boise State and San Diego State might go back on their commitment to joining the Big East in time for the 2013-14 season, making it even more important to hold onto both Pitt and Syracuse. Without Boise State and San Diego State, Big East football would have only 10 teams for next season with the additions of Temple (this year), Houston, SMU, Central Florida and Memphis.
I would have thought both Pitt and Syracuse would have been able to leave the Big East after this season. But with the Big East facing an uncertain future, it looks like Pitt is going to use West Virginia-like measures to ensure that they can join the ACC in time for the 2013-14 season.