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Rutgers suit challenges Big East over waiting period, exit fee

The SportsXchange

Big Ten-bound Rutgers has sued the Big East over its $10 million exit fee and the 27-month waiting period to leave the conference.

Maryland, which also agreed last month to join the Big Ten, is being sued by the Atlantic Coast Conference to require the school to pay an exit fee of more than $50 million.

Rutgers filled the lawsuit in Middlesex County Court, claiming that the Big East didn't enforce the waiting period when Syracuse, Pittsburgh, TCU and West Virginia departed recently for other conferences. The suit also contends that the Big East failed to collect $39.5 million in withdrawal fees from those schools that should have been distributed to existing conference members.

"Upon information and belief, the new withdrawal fee of $10 million arbitrarily applies to some, but not all, of the Big East football schools, and the effect is to penalize certain members if they seek to withdraw," according to the lawsuit reported by "Moreover, the Big East's excusal of noncompliance by Syracuse, Pittsburgh, TCU, and WVU with the 27-month notice provision of the Bylaws constitutes a waiver of this same provision with respect to Rutgers.

"The court should accordingly enter an order declaring the bylaws to be void and of no effect as between the parties, permitting Rutgers to withdraw from the Big East prior to July 1, 2015, or in alternative, declaring that the Big East has waived Rutgers' obligation to abide by the 27 months' notice provision and the requirement of a withdrawal fee."

Rutgers has targeted the 2014-15 season as its first in the Big Ten. If the Big East waiting period is enforced, the Scarlet Knights would not be able to join its new conference until the summer of 2015.

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