Pittsburgh is going to court in an effort to get its football team out of the Big East as fast as possible.
The university filed a lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pa., on Friday, asking that the school be allowed to move to the ACC after competing in all sports following the upcoming academic year. Pittsburgh, along with Syracuse, gave notice to the Big East last September that it would be leaving the beleaguered conference for the greener pastures of the ACC. The move was supposed to happen after the 2013-14 season, but the Big East had hinted that it was willing to work with both schools on an exit strategy.
Pittsburgh said in a statement that it had recently been working with former Big East commissioner John Marinatto to leave the conference "after this upcoming academic year."
Following the addition of Temple on March 7, Marinatto spoke like someone willing to let the two defecting programs leave a year early.
"Our membership, given the speed and success of our expansion initiatives, I think it's open to having the discussions with both Pittsburgh and Syracuse about them having an early departure," Marinatto said.
"So we haven't actually had those conversations yet, but our membership is certainly willing to do that at this point given where we've landed."
Marinatto, who was working on behalf of the conference and the university presidents to expedite Pittsburgh out of the conference following this season, stepped down as Big East commissioner last Monday.
Recent overtures by the university to continue talks with the Big East about the school being allowed to leave after this season went unanswered, leading to a potential day in court.
"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," the statement said.
Pittsburgh also alluded to West Virginia leaving the conference early to join the Big 12 this season in addition to the recent round of expansion as reason for wanting to leave after the next academic year. The new schools coming into the conference mean that "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."
When contacted by Yahoo! Sports, Pittsburgh declined further comment on the timing of the suit.
The shakeups might not be over for the Big East as Louisville appears to be positioning itself for a possible move to the ACC or to perhaps follow West Virginia to the Big 12. The potential loss of the Cardinals would leave the conference at 12 programs.
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