Pittsburgh, Big East reach agreement on departure
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Syracuse made it official on Monday. And now that the price has been set, Pittsburgh is ready to follow the Orange athletic program into the ACC.
The Big East Conference and the University of Pittsburgh announced Wednesday evening they have reached an agreement on Pittsburgh’s departure from the Big East and move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Under the terms of the agreement reached between the Big East and Pittsburgh, Big East members will vote, in accordance with the Big East’s bylaws, to terminate Pittsburgh’s membership in the Big East effective July 1, 2013, at which point Pittsburgh will join the ACC.
In addition to other consideration, Pittsburgh will make a total cash payment to the Big East of $7.5 million, which includes the $5 million withdrawal fee under the Big East bylaws applicable at the time Pittsburgh gave notice of withdrawal, and an additional $2.5 million for leaving early (prior to the 27-month departure notice required by the bylaws). It is the same fee Syracuse is expected to make prior to their departure for the ACC as well.
“This is another step for the Big East to take toward a very exciting future. With the addition of our eight new members, the Big East will be incredibly strong and vibrant,” said Joe Bailey, Interim Commissioner of the Big East.
Steve Pederson, Athletic Director for the University of Pittsburgh said: “We have appreciated and enjoyed our membership in the Big East and wish them much success in the future. We are anxious to compete in our final season in the Big East and look forward to an exciting future in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
Under Big East bylaws, the two schools were expected to remain in the league for 27 months after their initial notice of departure, and would not have been allowed to join the ACC until July, 2014.
Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania in May, claiming the Big East waived its right to enforce a withdrawal notice after letting West Virginia leave early for the Big 12.
The Big East, however, was willing to negotiate an earlier exit for the schools after adding Temple for this fall; Boise State and San Diego State join for football, with Houston, SMU, Central Florida, and Memphis joining for all sports in July, 2013. Navy is also scheduled to join for football only, beginning in 2015.
Late Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported that the Big East has also dropped its lawsuit seeking $5 million from TCU for a commitment to join the league and instead joining the Big 12. The conference announced TCU had "fully discharged its obligations to the Big East."