PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 18: (L - R) University of Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson and Chancellor Mark Nordenberg speak during a press conference following the acceptance of the University of Pittsburgh into the Atlantic Coast Conference on September 18, 2011 at Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Pitt Suing Big East Conference Over School's Exit Date, According To Reports

Hoping to leave for the ACC a year early, the University of Pittsburgh is suing the Big East Conference.

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5 Total Updates since May 11, 2012
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Pitt Sues Big East: West Virginia Case Could Be Solid Precedent For Pitt

Pitt is suing the Big East Conference with the hopes of trying to get to the ACC sooner than the Conference's departure period the Conference has in place would let them. According to Jerry DiPaola of the Trib, Pitt could have some solid precedent to point to when making their case. West Virginia just won a very similar case against the conference, and Pitt has a lot of the same things going for it.

"A number of things have resulted in a vastly different landscape for the Big East over the past 18 months that could further support teams departing," said Thomas F. Holt Jr. of the Boston law firm K&L Gates who led West Virginia’s effort to leave the Big East. "Pitt may very well have a good case in support of exiting the conference early," Holt said.

Pitt's case is based on the departure of West Virginia as well as that of TCU, which hadn't even played a game as a member before electing to leave. If the conference did not hold those two schools to the standards they have for every other team, it doesn't seem like they will be able to hold Pitt to them either.

For more on the lawsuit, stay tuned to this SB Nation Pittsburgh Storystream and visit SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Suing Big East: Copy Of Lawsuit Released

Pitt filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas late Friday afternoon. A copy of that lawsuit is available and can be viewed here. As an added ‘bonus’, the Big East Bylaws are also attached in that document.

The abridged version, of course, is that Pitt is claiming damages – many related to scheduling issues as a result of West Virginia and TCU being able to leave the conference early without paying the 27-month penalty. While it can be argued that those two schools left because of the defections by Pitt and Syracuse, the lawsuit also raises some valid points.

Pitt bought out an earlier opponent at the cost of $250,000 to make room for TCU. When the Horned Frogs left, that created a void on Pitt’s schedule. In addition, with the loss of West Virginia, the Panthers lost two of their marquee games and were forced to replace them with new member Temple and Gardner-Webb. The attendance for those two games will also be significantly less than they would have been for West Virginia and TCU.

For more on the lawsuit, stay tuned to this SB Nation Pittsburgh Storystream and visit SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Sues Big East: Panthers Issue Official Statement

Pitt’s official statement on the recent lawsuit against the Big East sheds more light:

“Since the University of Pittsburgh made the decision to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, we have done everything possible to move through a smooth transition with the Big East. Though we have been excluded from governance activities, meetings, decision-making and operational functions of the conference, we have been positive and respectful of the Big East.

“On September 26, 2011, when we notified the Big East that we were withdrawing from the conference, we paid the first half of the exit fee of $5 million. When the 2012-13 season is complete, we will have competed in the Big East for two seasons, thus providing ample time to re-form the Big East Conference for the future. Beginning with the 2013-14 season, 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.

“Although the Big East’s stated position is that we must stay through the 2013-14 season, the Big East acknowledged publicly that a discussion of our departure after the 2012-13 season was appropriate. A few weeks ago, Steve Pederson met with John Marinatto to begin the process to work toward an exit after this upcoming academic year. The Commissioner indicated that he was doing this with the authorization of the Chair of the Big East Presidents. However, attempts to contact the Big East in the following weeks to move the process forward have been unsuccessful, leading us to conclude that negotiations would not occur. Given the change in leadership of the Big East and the lack of response to our attempted contacts, on Friday, May 11, 2012, we filed a law suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, seeking resolution of this matter. We are confident in our position as stated in the complaint, but believe that this matter is best resolved between the parties. We have notified the Big East of this action, and continue to hope that our departure can be accommodated through private negotiations.”

Now, it's a little off-base that Pitt should be able to leave early because the Big East has more members. While that’s true, it doesn’t have any bearing on the exit date in the contract to which Pitt agreed. However, as the Panthers point out in the statement, Pitt has essentially been excluded from meetings and many conference activities. While they shouldn’t be involved in the decision-making for the future for obvious reasons, I’m not sure it’s exactly fair that as a member they are being left on the outside looking in when it comes to a lot of the happenings of the league.

Another key point is that Pitt has apparently tried to negotiate a buyout but hasn’t even been able to have any recent discussions about it. The Big East certainly has the right to not negotiate if it chooses, but John Marinatto’s recent comments before his resignation indicated that he would like to have those discussions.

For more on the lawsuit, stay tuned to this Storystream and visit SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Sues Big East: Panthers Reportedly Claim Schedule Woes In Lawsuit

Word broke today that Pitt is suing the Big East in hopes of leaving early. The Panthers’ goal appears to be to leave after the upcoming football and basketball seasons. Pitt’s basis for wanting out early and suing the conference?

Scheduling and lost revenue.

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.

No one could argue (at least well, anyway) that Pitt doesn’t at the very least have a point here. The Panthers were indeed left scrambling after West Virginia and TCU bolted and as a result, ended up with a subpar schedule. Because of that, fewer tickets will be sold and the program stands to lose more money. However, the lawsuit signals a potential end to ‘playing nice’ and is sure to draw more ire from the remaining conference teams.

For more on the lawsuit, stay tuned to this Storystream and check out Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Suing Big East Conference Over School's Exit Date, According To Reports

Trying to leave for the ACC a year early, the University of Pittsburgh is suing the Big East Conference.

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