West Virginia is suing the Big East Conference in civil court. They are attempting to exit the conference to join the Big 12 for the 2012 athletic season but have met opposition from a conference that has seen founding members exit for greener pastures in the past few weeks. The suit, filed Monday, places the blame for the conference's instability on John Marinatto, the conference commissioner.
The Big East currently requires teams to stay int he conference for 27-months after giving notice of their intention to leave. West Virginia argues that the Big East, being unable to hold the conference together, breached its contract with the school and "nullified and voided the bylaws."
Once the Big East lost Pittsburgh, Syracuse and TCU to other conferences, West Virginia claims that the commissioner did not do enough to keep the remaining schools from talking to other conferences. Cincinnati, Rutgers and Connecticut all began negotiations with other conferences, leading to West Virginia's decision to leave the Big East as well.
In response Commissioner Marinatto said that the suit is false and inaccurate. He said that he does not know why the school does not feel it has to respect and honor the bylaws of the conference and that there is nothing to justify WVU not fulfilling its contract with the conference.
The lawsuit is only the latest development in a conference that has been crippled by realignment. In September both Pittsburgh and Syracuse left the conference to join the ACC, strengthening the ACC's football reputation while maintaining a solid foundation in basketball. TCU announced it would join the Big East in September, but removed itself to the Big 12 only a month later.