The Big East is now ready to move forward with its new membership.
On Wednesday, the conference announced it had settled a lawsuit with TCU and that Pitt had agreed to pay a total of $7.5 million to leave for the Big East at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
The announcements mean the Big East has finally broken ties with all departing members and can finally start moving forward as a newly branded conference.
Pitt follows Syracuse to the ACC, a move that was announced last year. Earlier this week, Syracuse negotiated its exit from the Big East for $7.5 million and Pitt followed suit. Pitt already had paid the Big East $5 million when it announced its intention to leave the conference, so it only owes $2.5 million to sever all ties.
Both schools had initially agreed to abide by the 27-month waiting period outlined in the Big East bylaws, but after West Virginia negotiated its way out of the conference for $20 million and the league brought in eight new teams, things started to get a little chippy. Pitt filed suit against the conference in May seeking release to join the ACC in 2013. It stated that the Big East had waived its right to enforce withdrawal notice after allowing West Virginia leave early. Also, with the addition of new members, the Big East didn't really need Pitt (or Syracuse) to stick around from a scheduling standpoint.
TCU left the Big East for the Big 12 before officially joining the league, which seemingly absolved them of all monetary obligations. However, the Big East filed a lawsuit in Washington last month seeking $5 million for breaking the agreement despite the fact that TCU had never played a game in the league. According to the Associated Press, TCU is still expected to pay the league the $5 million requested.
That means, the Big East made $40 million off its four departing members, including the $20 million from West Virginia. Now the conference needs to start looking for a full-time commissioner and catching up with the rest of the country in terms of a worthwhile television deal.
- Big East