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Conference Realignment: West Virginia Files Suit Against Big East

In an attempt to extricate itself from the Big East Conference for the 2012 season, the University of West Virginia has filed suit against the Big East Conference. This is going to end about as well as you'd expect it to.

"West Virginia University filed a lawsuit against the Big East Conference today in an attempt to begin play in the Big 12 next year.

In the lawsuit, West Virginia Board of Governors vs. the Big East Conference, West Virginia cites a lack of leadership and a breach of fiduciary duties by the Big East and commissioner John Marinatto It also states that a "voting disparity between the football and non-football schools resulted in the Big East football conference no longer being a viable and competitive football conference."

You can read the entire claim here.

Of particular note are the claims listed under the section entitled "Denigration Of The Big East Football Conference," which more or less reads like an awful year-end performance review for John Marinatto.

Among the more noteworthy is claim #27 about Louisville, Rutgers and Cincinnati shopping themselves around to any BCS conference this side of the Rocky Mountains.

"27. Upon information and belief, representatives of Louisville, Rutgers, and Cincinnati have been engaged in discussions with other sports conferences, including the ACC, the Big XII, the SEC, and the Big 10 for the purposes of trying to obtain invitations to join these conferences and withdraw from the Big East."

Kinda funny to think of Rutgers as the mystery 14th team in the SEC. 

And perhaps the most damning (emphasis added):

"28. On October 27, 2011, WVU received an invitation to join the Big XII for all sports, including football. WVU accepted the Big XII's offer the same day. As the Big East, in less than two months, had denigrated into a non-major football conference whose continued existence is in serious jeopardy, WVU had no choice but to accept the Big XII's offer."

So West Virginia, who was previously turned down by both the ACC and the SEC, had "no choice but to accept the Big XII's offer." Nothing like settling for your third choice of BCS AQ conference. It's unclear whether West Virginia will be successful in exiting the Big East after this season, but the line of argument that says "Marinatto was so negligent in his fiduciary duties to the Big East that West Virginia University was forced to join a BCS conference where the closest league member is located some 800 miles away" is an intriguing one.

This is certainly something to keep an eye on. If the Mountaineers are able to leave the conference this season, it would logically follow that both Syracuse and Pittsburgh wouldn't stick it out in the Big East and become members of the ACC as early as next season.

As always, stay tuned.