West Virginia may be hanging around for a while

What was supposed to be good news for Missouri and West Virginia is accompanied by doubt that either will be moving into new conferences soon.

Missouri has finally received an official invitation to the Southeastern Conference and has accepted.

UM may not be allowed to participate next season, however, because the SEC wants West Virginia’s legal entanglements with the Big East Conference to be resolved first.

West Virginia wanted in the Big 12 so badly that it promised the Big 12 would leave the Big East immediately by filing a lawsuit. May have been the maneuver that put WVU ahead of the University of Louisville in the selection process. A bold move on WVU’s part but one the school may regret.

The Mountaineers followed through on their promise, accusing the Big East of mismanagement. The Big East, in return, filed a counter suit to prevent WVU from leaving. A virtual field day for numerous law firms lusting for millions of dollars to be had in the conference realignment litigation minefield.

The legal precedents are rare and the issues are complex, affecting not only West Virginia but all the schools in the Big East.  Other members will be drawn into the cases, as will their separate legal counsel. Court dates will be scheduled, court dates will be postponed, injunctions will be issued, they will be rescinded, judges will be make rulings, only to be overturned on appeal. Has all the makings of a legal quagmire.

The fact that Syracuse and Pittsburgh are hanging around for at least two more seasons would appear to support the Big East’s case against West Virginia. Time will tell whether they considered similar lawsuits and whether the ACC would have been supportive. We think not. Too much ill will created by an additional raid on the conference, and the odds of winning were remote.

If the SEC means what it says, we fully expect another Big East showdown between Louisville and West Virginia next season at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

14 thoughts on “West Virginia may be hanging around for a while

  • November 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm
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    Any chance the Big East allows West Virginia to leave if it gets all the schools it is extending invitations to?

  • November 6, 2011 at 10:37 pm
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    I doubt it because Syracuse and Pittsburgh might get ideas about leaving early, too. Slippery slope going that route.

    • November 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm
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      Depends on the money. They may be let out early if they fork up sufficient bonus money. After all, this entire situation is about only one thing and that’s money.

  • November 7, 2011 at 9:25 am
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    The Big East is making a mistake fighting it. Cut the ties and get on with the conference. The teams leaving right away would ultimately be the best thing for the Big East.

    • November 7, 2011 at 9:56 am
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      Couldn’t agree more. Maybe there is some under lying reason to keep them in the conference, but right now the Big East leaders look petty and weak. If they do not want to be in the conference, negotiate millions of dollars in exit fees and let them go. Keeping three teams for 27 months that care nothing about the conference makes no sense. Concentrate on the future.

      • November 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm
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        See my above comment about bonus money. Keeping them around for 27 months is leverage for lots of things and the first 12 on the list are money.

  • November 7, 2011 at 10:30 am
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    Why does the SEC care about West Virginia’s legal entanglements with the Big East?

  • November 7, 2011 at 11:49 am
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    Hold their feet to the fire. Keep ’em in or make ’em pay big. What happens next time …. another quick exit? Send a loud message.

  • November 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm
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    I agree with Keith – let em go. Could make it easier for the Cards if/when they go.

  • November 8, 2011 at 9:18 am
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    If these suits ever get to trial WVU is in deep trouble if evidence surfaces that they were talking to another conference before the Pitt-Cuse announcement. That would gut their case and brand them as hypocrites.

    • November 8, 2011 at 10:22 am
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      Anything can happen, cbcard, as you have noted in your comments. But I believe West Virginia will still be playing in the Big East next season.

  • November 8, 2011 at 11:00 am
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    Good win Louisville over my Mountaineers. My comments come as a result of us attending the WVU/Louisville game this past Saturday. I know you wrote of the horrors that WVU fans put into Louisville fans over the years in Morgantown and I know for a fact, that they’re were none of those stories that can come out from this weekends game. Why? Because there were only 17 Louisville fans at the game. I said this before but I can’t wait until WVU goes to the BIG 12 and gets fans who travel. In addition, it’s pretty clear WVU is going to the BIG 12 next year. We need to step up our competition as we’re playing well below what we should. Horrible loss this past Saturday and I can only say it was depressing. So, let’s move onto the BIG 12……

    • November 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm
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      Good to hear from you Philly, but I’m pretty confident there were more than 17 Louisville fans at the game.

    • November 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm
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      I guess the schools in WV don’t teach math.

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