May 12, 2012

Pitt Gets Impatient With Big East

Filed under: Big East,Conference,Money — Chas @ 10:59 am

Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this.

The University of Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit Friday in Allegheny County Court in an effort to leave the Big East after the 2012-13 academic year, one season earlier than required by the conference.

Pitt also asked for unspecified monetary damages, according to a 34-page court filing.

Pitt maintains the Big East relinquished its required 27-month waiting period for departing members by not holding West Virginia and TCU to the standard when they announced last year they were leaving the conference, the lawsuit states.

Apparently Pitt had begun negotiations with now-deposed Big East Commish John Marinatto about Pitt getting out after the 2012-13 season — as was widely expected. The problem was, talks had abruptly ended a few weeks ago. Something that shouldn’t be a surprise in light of Marinatto’s firing since according to the reports of Marinatto’s demise, the firing “had been building for weeks.”As such, it should be no surprise that the Big East powers started cutting off Marinatto’s authority.

And in fact, the Pitt press release on the matter seems to indicate as much.

“A few weeks ago, [Pitt athletic director] Steve Pederson met with [Big East commissioner] John Marinatto to begin the process to work toward an exit after this upcoming academic year,” according to the statement. “The commissioner indicated that he was doing this with the authorization of the Chair of the Big East Presidents. However, 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.”

While still an athletic member of the conference, with Pitt leaving the conference they do not have any contact with the conference workings any more. As such, they would not have been privy to the “why” Marinatto and the Big East would not discuss the matter at this time. That would explain why they began working on a lawsuit shortly after the silence in negotiations.

It strikes me as a bit impatient by Pitt, after learning that Marinatto was out this week. But apparently, since Pitt had finished putting the claim together, they went for it.

The other aspect is the complaint for damages. That strikes me as part of the negotiation to get the exit fee as close to the $5 million number as possible. AD Steve Pederson has been emphatic that Pitt has no interest in paying more than $5 million to go, even with leaving a year earlier than the terms stipulate.

…sharing revenue received by the conference in the 2011-12 conference year, including money received from TCU and WVU; and reimbursement for damages such as the fees Pitt paid to secure the lost home games with TCU and WVU and to secure replacement games with lesser rivals, the lost ticket sales from disappointed fans, court costs and other financial losses.

Pitt states in its complaint that in addition to the $5 million fee it must pay to withdraw from the conference, it has lost $520,000 in buyout fees and game fees as a result of the Big East’s decision to allow TCU to withdraw.

Under terms of the Big East (and most conferences) once you give notice of leaving, you forfeit rights to a lot of the shared income the conference distributes. This would include NCAA Tournament appearance money, shares of the bowl money, and so on.

This case will never go to trial. It forces the Big East to come to the table with Pitt sooner than they wanted. They have a lot on their plate at the moment. Boise State might be getting cold feet. The conference has to find a new commissioner. They have their media rights deal to negotiate.

From the Big East side of things, this is almost like spiking the ball. The conference is in renewed turmoil. The ACC — where Pitt and Cuse are headed — just announced a nice bump in their media rights. And now Pitt is demanding they deal with them right now.

Good move. Pitt did get a bit impatient and may have jumped the gun on this one. But now, it is not a good day in Providence.

Comment by Greg 05.12.12 @ 11:16 am

“it has lost $520,000 in buyout fees and game fees as a result of the Big East’s decision to allow TCU to withdraw.”

I assume this does not estimate the revenue loss of allowing WVUseless to bolt?

Comment by CompLit 05.12.12 @ 11:16 am


Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.12.12 @ 11:19 am

Oh, and I missed the added value of the BE and WVU “helping” Pitt to schedule Gardner-Webb?

Comment by CompLit 05.12.12 @ 11:20 am

“Hey Big East, I know you’re busy dealing with the fact that you’re tearing apart at the seams, but can we talk about how this is affecting me.”

Comment by Greg 05.12.12 @ 11:22 am

simply using WVU’s tactic of a pending lawsuit to expedite Pitt’s BE exit. I’ll be extremely surprised if this coming year is not Pitt’ last in the Footnote (formerly BE) Conference

Comment by wbb 05.12.12 @ 11:25 am

I see this pretty clearly. All bets were pretty much off for Pitt out in Providence once they fired the Comish… and a ‘new deal’, may have involved Pitt getting stapled to another year in the big east if this wasn’t processes immediately after Marinattos leave we may be stuck in a bad place.

In my opinion, this was the right move, and consistent with the University’s desire to stabilize. H2P.

Comment by Benzene 05.12.12 @ 11:25 am

San Diego State, Boise State: a BCS bowl possibility couldn’t be worth all this angst. Or could it?

Comment by steve1 05.12.12 @ 11:30 am

I don’t like it one bit, because I would have liked them to have continued to pursue the high road. However, I understand why and I can appreciate the logic of pushing them in court, because nothing may happen otherwise. The Big East has shown time and time again that they are not pro active. They only respond to situations when they’re forced to do so. Hopefully this can be resolved quickly, but I am not optomistic about it. I stongly suspect that the Big East is looking for a big settlement like they recieved in the West Virginia deal. Personally, I would give them an extra nickle.

Comment by Justinian 05.12.12 @ 11:34 am

Correction, I wouldn’t give them an extra penny.

Comment by Justinian 05.12.12 @ 11:41 am

I have to disagree a bit on this one. While there have been many aspects of being a member of the BE which have been positive (primarily, if not exclusively, basketball), this conference, as a business model, has been a disaster since it’s inception. There is little, if any, “brand valule”. Any financial gains schools have come by in the last 20 years have been because of the schools image themselves which then carried over to the BE nameplate.

The only entity who have mismanaged things worse that I can think of is, you guessed it, Pitt. Starting with the blackball of Penn State, the Pitt administration has been the gang who can’t shoot straight. Without rehashing all of the history which take a three credit course to get through, fast forward to the SP regime(s) – we will focus on the sequel. If this guy was a CEO he would have been in the unemployment line a long time ago. We have had five football coaches in the last 16 months and he sits by while our cousins to the South give him a lesson in hardball. They are playing Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma at home this year. Pitt is playing Gardener Webb, Temple and Youngstown St. Defend and rationalize all you want, but at the end of the day, read ’em and weep. And, now after how many months of mismanagement, incompetent negotiating and dithering he finally decides to get serious? After he sat by and allowed the BE to jam that schedule down his throat and he got NOTHING in return? Are you kidding me? And now he goes crying to the legal system to bail him out? Pitt should have left the BE years ago. Whatever. But once they decided to go, GO. Take control of your own destiny let everybody in the room know you are going on your terms. Again, say what you want to about Ollie, but he got what he wanted in the end and he stood up for his fan base. The business world, including sports, is not comprised of all born again christains who come to the table with compromise and altrusim in mind. It is a brutal game and only the strong prevail. Stevie can blame the BE all he wants but those empty seats in September are all on him. And as long as he is running things down in Oakland, Pitt as a sports program will continue to suffer from his poor leadership. The only thing wrong about this lawsuit is it is a day late and a dollar short.

Comment by wally 05.12.12 @ 11:48 am

I dont think they had a choice and think its prudent. Pitt has to be the party to set the table for negotiations and this is the best (only?) way to do it. The high-road was not bolting like WVU did. We already took it.

Now Pitt is helping the BE sticking around longer and helping to prop up the football side until we leave and replacements come in; while at the same time take a hit because of TCU departure.

Also, if Pitt didn’t do this, and the situatin turns out poorly, we all would be wondering why Pitt wasnt more proactive instead of reactive.

Comment by PantherP 05.12.12 @ 11:51 am

Yes, of course, the timing is actually excellent!

Kind of known we’re going to ACC in 2013, BE and Marinatto going to have talks with us and Syracuse for early departure, then Marinatto booted, suddenly BE not sure about “these talks”, Boise State having second thoughts…………

Love the timing!!

“Let’s make no mistake with what ever is happening and with everything going on, we are not going to be in your conference next year, end of story.”

Get it out there, get it over with, just END IT!!

Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 11:57 am

wally–I think you are giving Mr. Pederson way too much credit/blame for the current status regarding departure from the BE. I have to believe that the Chancellor is the one who has driven Pitt”s attempt to exit gracefully and that it is he who has now made the call to bring the heat because the BE is being un-responsive.

By the way, I suspect the BE is dithering on letting Pitt and Cuse out, and Pitt knows it, because they want to keep Pitt and Cuse around as their “Plan B” for the 2014 FB season in the event Boise and SDSU back out.

Comment by pitt1972 05.12.12 @ 12:05 pm

Of course Boise St is having second thoughts, not just with the mess that is the BE.

1. New playoff format going to go on 5 conference winners (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12) and rankings. Going to be 6 bcs bowls, Boise State can get in just as easily on their own or in the Mountain West.

2. Big East more than likely not going to have their champ as an automatic qualifier.

With that info coming out the past couple weeks,

Someone out in Boise, had to be saying, “hey, hey, what in God’s name are we doing??”

Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 12:05 pm

Wally, agreed on Oliver Luck. We can all hate him and the hoopies all we want, call it bravado, call it him playing poker…..

He said from the beginning, “mark my words, we’re not playing in your conference next year, no way, no how”

Even when a reporter told him “well, you really don’t have anywhere to go as of this time”

he responded “we will not be there in 2012″.

Hate him all we want, he said it, he did it.

Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 12:14 pm

Boise State doesn’t need the Big East. They’ve earned their name recognition. No one is happy with the BCS as it now stands. College football is now recognizing that they a modified play-off system. The travel involved and the increasted cost of a buy-out for leaving the Big Eaat would make me take a pass on joining.

Comment by Justinian 05.12.12 @ 12:20 pm

Should have done this in September.

Comment by Chris 05.12.12 @ 1:39 pm

I think this course was laid out as soon as Pitt decided to leave the BE. They had a decision to make: Leave now (as WVU did) and pay a very large amount ($20M in WVU’s case); or, wait one year and pay half that amount. My guess is this thing settles for around $10M. Frankly, I respect what WVU did, they wanted out and they got out. I wonder how their ticket sales for next season compare to ours?

Comment by HbgFrank 05.12.12 @ 1:45 pm

This is stupid. The root cause of us losing money right now is US moving to the ACC. Pederson is a blowhard

Comment by Tony C 05.12.12 @ 1:48 pm

Boise has no reason to accept an invite to any conference other than the Pac 12 or the Big 12. The MWC was, is, and will be much better than the Big Least. Stay in the MWC until a decent conference in your general geographic region invites you

Comment by Tony C 05.12.12 @ 1:57 pm

Good move by Pitt. They force the Big East’s hand and speed up the process. Luck played his hand well but Pitt doesn’t want to pay a lot to exit and nor should they. There is no high road when no road currently exists. So, Pitt is blazing its own.

Comment by TX Panther 05.12.12 @ 1:57 pm

Exactly Tx, high road, smigh road.

We’re a “bad guy” anyhow just from leaving.

So, we stayed a year longer, we’re less of a “bad guy” than WVU.

Great, what’d that get us, someday in a bar if I run into some UCONN or Rutgers fans, I can say, “hey, you know, we stayed an extra year for you”. Whoopie!!!

Water under the bridge, and as far as “bad guys” in college football, I’d say we’re pretty far down the line. There is plenty to go around.

Do what’s in the best interest of Pitt now.

Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 2:11 pm

The Big East has allowed the basketball members to dictate and I give the Big East football conference about 2 years of life expectancy.

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat 05.12.12 @ 2:21 pm

The timing of Pitt’s lawsuit has everything to do with Boise St having second thoughts. It’s very likely that Boise St will not be joining the BE, if that occurs only one team will exit the BE a year early. SP decided to act before Syracuse just incase only one team escapes BE prior to the 27 month waiting period.
Pitt did the honorable thing and gave BE time to secure replacements, now Pitt is doing the prudent thing by getting out of BE before Syracuse.

Comment by spindler's spirit 05.12.12 @ 3:08 pm

I wonder if Syracuse will hurry up and file a law suit of their own on Monday. Although if Boise doesn’t come ala TCU and from what I read, that is not anywhere close to a given. For if the BigEast loses their AQ status, there would be NO reason whatsoever for Boise to leave the MWC. And if Boise doesn’t come, neither will San Diego State.

And if Boise doesn’t come, I don’t see AQ status for a conference with Temple, USF, UCF, Houston, SMU, UConn, Rutgers, Louisville, Cincy & Navy.
(even with Boise AQ status is a stretch)

Do you ?

Comment by EMel 05.12.12 @ 3:51 pm

Agreed EMEL, even with Boise St., it was going to be questionable, after reading things (not just wild speculation) from reputable news sources, that covered the BCS meetings.

The Big East was not being talked about having BCS status, and people asked, said, no comment, and evasive answers.

Without Boise, no way!!

Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 4:00 pm

@Spindler, never thought of the Syracuse angle.

Ha Ha, ya, they have to be lawyering up right now (I’m sure they’ve been ready).

I would have to believe, no matter what happens, Syracuse is telling them adios, even if the BE would try to clamp down on them.

As you said, Pitt and Cuse stuck around for a year to make sure, basically what I believe, is so that Rutgers and UCONN didn’t get a total shaft with scheduling. (I may be way off).

Regardless, time to move on.

Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 4:02 pm

Pitt Has leverage We will pay less than the 5 mil WVU had none. luck made the best deal he could …

Comment by 63Team 05.12.12 @ 4:06 pm

At this point staying in the Big East is like staying married “for the kids”. Everyone is miserable and the whole thing ends up damaging everyone involved as the dysfunction reaches epic proportions. I’ve always felt that Pitt stayed as long as they did for several reasons:

1) It would somehow cost them less money if they stayed longer. Even if it was only a year.

2) See (1)

3) It’s not like Pitt had an ACC/BCS quality product at the time this whole thing started shaking down. Hell, they probably still don’t. Add in the whole coaching debacle and to me, it made sense to stay in what amounts to a sub-BCS conference while the new coach and staff acclimates. Less pressure on everyone, and perhaps enter the ACC with at least some semblance of stability.

4) There was some prestige to be had with the basketball affiliation for a couple more years; of course then we started to suck. Not much fun sitting at the bottom of a great basketball conference. Heck, we can do that anywhere.

I can’t speak for Syracuse; I have no credibility with my own teams. But I do agree that Syracuse will be right behind us come hell or high water. I also agree that Boise State may very well end up passing on the Big East, which would leave the conference in utter shambles from a football perspective. I mean, sure, the logistics of Boise State and TCU are a joke, but at least they don’t suck.

I honestly wish Rutgers and UCONN would find another home. Then just fold everything left into some MAC-like conference for football. I have no love lost for either of these teams, but it bugs me that they may end up getting the shaft in all of this.

Comment by thestumper 05.12.12 @ 4:31 pm

Spindler, that’s the kind of logic that applies when you’re walking in the woods with a friend encounter a grizzly bear. When you start to run, you know you can’t out-run the bear. You just need to out-run your friend.

Comment by Justinian 05.12.12 @ 4:34 pm

I agree, and I think SP filing the lawsuit sends a message to Syracuse which can be best summed up about getting stuck in the BE because of Boise by the line from Sonny and Cher it ain’t me Babe.

Comment by spindler's spirit 05.12.12 @ 4:50 pm

@Justinian and Spindler, LOL!!

Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 4:54 pm

What gives with the Penn State ads? This is a PITT blog.

Comment by wannstache 05.12.12 @ 4:58 pm

where r the psu ads

Comment by teezy 05.12.12 @ 5:16 pm

Well, looks like the FSU board of trustees has shifty eyes. We might need to get in there for next year definitely.

Comment by Chris 05.12.12 @ 5:29 pm

There are ads on this site?

Comment by Chris 05.12.12 @ 5:29 pm

Total appropriate and a necessary bargaining tactic by PITT to get the BE moving on thing. Chas summarized it well.

PITT (and SU) are down to 8-9 months before the ACC schedule comes out for th 2013 fball season so times a wasting. PITT, SU, and the ACC is not going through that uncertainty about scheduling again this go around.

At to it the 17M per year payout (estimated to be nearly 4 X the current BE payout) and PITT knows that it is worth it to leave early. ‘

We now know the starting point (5 M) and the worse case scenario (20 M paid by WVU/B12) so split the difference (poor man’s negotiation) and we are looking at 12.5 M. PITT would still be 4.5 M ahead of the game. Also consider that the ACC is likely to offer a zero to low interest loan for 1/2 amortized over 4-5 years and it is a no brainer. The proverbial “pay back period” as they say in business would be immediate given the new ACC TV deal.

Necessary move by PITT. No hard feelings for the BE but its business and now we are in the divorce stage. Syracuse will certainly follow in the next week to add pressure. I expect that the ACC has given PITT the nod.

Chas, nice job summarizing the posturing and tactices. The BE will get this off their plate as it is an unneccesary distraction given the Commish search, Boise situation, TV/media negotiation, and new member orientation. Why waste money on PITT and Syracuse with a long drawn out court battle over 1 additional year. PITT knows this.


Comment by PITT FAN IN ATLANTA 05.12.12 @ 6:02 pm

One last point. UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, and Cincy are likely not going to stand in the way of PITT and SU leaving sooner. Why? They just might need PITT and SU’s help down the road.

CBS sports reports that Louisville has notified the Big East that it intends to leave. You don’t show your cards unless you have a winning hand, right?

(Chas perhaps you can revisit those comment from UL AD and Pitino about PITT)

link to

Comment by PITT FAN IN ATLANTA 05.12.12 @ 6:10 pm

Pharaoh let my people go

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 7:21 pm

There are more compelling things at hand.


Comment by steve1 05.12.12 @ 7:39 pm

Look if boise state and san diego state and
louisville leave the big east and they are down to 9 teams with no AQ STATUS or BCS status than
what is the point they will just fold or splet from the BB schools i do belive the big east is doomed in 3 years or less. they should man the life boats now or they will go down with a sinking ship.

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 7:39 pm


Comment by steve1 05.12.12 @ 7:43 pm

Steve1 i hate to be rude but you just know i will
are the pens playing no they are not so who gives a flying F k

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 8:09 pm


Comment by steve1 05.12.12 @ 8:15 pm

Stevel i should not have said that go ahead have your fun.

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 8:17 pm

To each his own my fult just hated to see pen not in it old grump i am

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 8:19 pm

Thanks Frank. Just havin’ fun. And the game ain’t over…

Comment by steve1 05.12.12 @ 8:23 pm

SOME info for you all andy haggard who is the bord chairman of fsu and the boss of AD spetman just cut the AD off at the knees
he said the board is in favor of seeing what the big 12 offer is to fsu so lets chew that over and toss that around a bit.

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 8:47 pm

So if FSU leaves who is brought in to replace them? UCONN, Rutgers? Please not Louisvilee or Notre Dame. Academically ND would fit but they so screwed the BE with football I personally do not want to see them get anything that they do not have to beg for. Louisville is sub-par academically so I think that the ACC board would look upon them with disfavor. With JOPA gone maybe the ACC could lure PSU>

Comment by jim 05.12.12 @ 9:07 pm

There will always be an ACC. Its just that FSU, Maryland, Va Tech, Ga Tech, Virginia, Clemson, and NC State may not be in it. Those are the seven most frequently mentioned for other conferences.

Notre Dames hand may be forced soon. State Penn would only consider the ACC if the Domers join and they get assurances that other schools won’t leave. That will never happen.

It doesn’t hurt to hear other offers.

Rutgers and UConn are fallback options for the ACC. No other conference will touch them. Butgers is the lowest ranked choice for the B1G.

The ACC contract is still undervalued I believe.

Times are interesting aren’t they.

Comment by TX Panther 05.12.12 @ 9:24 pm

I want to stay on the BE one more year. A SD toad trip would be da bomb, especially in the winter

Comment by DCPinPGH 05.12.12 @ 9:30 pm

VTech and the others won’t leave. FSU might but the others won’t.

There’s a gentleman’s agreement between the ACC and the SEC is my understanding that would prevent it from that angle.

From the others, Virginia fought to bring in VTech and the legislature makes it impossible is my understanding.

There’s just too much to prevent the schools from leaving.

Comment by Lou Gagliardi 05.12.12 @ 9:38 pm


Comment by steve1 05.12.12 @ 10:03 pm

IF FSU leaves ND will say no so that leaves UCON
they fit in BB they fit academically
but there football is a poor choice to take fsu
place i dont know if espn would want them after all it is a football driven tv deal buti dont know who else there is some fit with football and BB
but not academically louisville does not fit academically i see no fit but ucon you tell me who else there is penn state makes to mutch money in big 10 no one is leaveing the SEC so who else.

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 10:25 pm

Pitt files first in PA. Syracuse will file next in NY. The defense costs alone will cripple the BE trying to defend two suits in two jurisdictions. They would not necessarily be crippled financially, although that would take its toll, but they would be crippled going forward trying to attract quality programs while involved in litigation.

Who would want to join a conference where the conference wants to litigate to have a member…..stay! It’s like marriage and affairs in a way. If your eyes wander and you do the deed outside the marriage, just do everyone involved a favor and move on. No hard feelings. Get the heck out, but don’t ever think of coming back.

As far as AD’s go, I continue to believe we got the short end of the stick with him. Oliver Luck has been on the job for a year, developed a plan, and orchestrated it. It cost WVU a few million, of which its new conference underwrote several million. Again, the WVU AD trumps ours in making a plan and executing it. I am not saying it will work out better for WVU because I think they are in over their heads and will not do well.

It’s troubling news about the Board of Trustee member at fsu indicating that his school should listen to the big12 overture. That is fine because I further believe the ACC is in real nice shape. Syracuse just needs to file. The sooner the better.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.12.12 @ 10:26 pm

Ileft this part out sorry the board was unanimous in wanting to see what the big 12 offer would be thus leaveing there AD spetman undermined
you may remmber he was the one who said they had no intrest in the big 12 now he is twising in the wind.

Comment by Frankcan 05.12.12 @ 10:46 pm


Comment by Dan 05.12.12 @ 11:18 pm

Frankcan: im not sure how South Florida’s academics are but they are a big school. My prediction is that once the Big East basketball schools break away within the next 5 years, Notre Dame will have to choose between remaining independent for football and form an other sports conference with Nova, Gtown, Marquette, Depaul, St Johns, Providence, and Seton Hall or join either the Big Ten or ACC

Comment by Tony C 05.13.12 @ 1:52 am

@ 17 mil/year, Pitt can afford to tell the Big East it is leaving after the 2012/2013 season. WV called the Big East ‘s’ bluff and won. After all, it’s only money. Oops, I forgot, it’s always about the money. Geographically, the ACC is situated just right for all sports. I would not complain if Penn State were invited to join the ACC. ND can take Penn State’s place in the B1G. HTP!

Comment by MariettaMike 05.13.12 @ 7:48 am

All Oliver Luck lovers: Please enroll at WVU and be on your way. Thank you and Hail To Pitt.

Comment by JCE 05.13.12 @ 8:50 am

Right on, It’s always about the money and when there is this much money on the line, lawyers are involved. When lawyers are involved, lawsuits generally follow. Pitt had been very patient, but with Marinatto, and probably BSU out, the cards were dealt.

Too bad we can’t get out for football right now. Will anyone other than the most fanatic go to Heinz field this year?

Speaking of money, Pitt needs two of the big three, WVU, PSU, and ND on the schedule every year to guarantee two sell outs. It’s all about the money. Plus real football games instead of second rate tune ups that no one attends.

Comment by gc 05.13.12 @ 9:00 am

ND WILL join a conference eventually and it will most likely be the ACC (Notre Damers head East – they don’t stay in the midwest). ND has not screwed the BE. The Big East gave them a bone for basketball and got regular football games out of it. I doubt the BE ever approached ND about joining the league because they that would NEVER be an option.

Why would ND trade playing high profile games for a very lackluster Big East schedule? MAYBE, with the the way the conference landscape has changed the last few years, the Big East would have been intriguing with BC, VT and Miami still in the league but that ship sailed long ago.

I get that ND isn’t what it used to be on the field, but ND is still a legit draw (why else would it be such a big deal to keep them on the schedule) and as long as they still have that drawing power they will still have a voice.

The BEST case scenario is that they do join the ACC and that opens up Pitt’s schedule for WVU and Penn State. This is VERY unlikely but Pitt should do what they can to make it happen. In a football market that is moving away from regional rivalries, Pitt maintaining two would/could help with local recruiting and in the stands. I can’t imagine ESPN not being in favor of airing Pitt vs. ND, Pitt vs. WVU and Pitt vs. PSU (not exactly sure who would air this game) games every season.

A schedule that includes ND, PSU, WVU, VT with FSU and MD sprinkled in every other year would give Pitt a lot of exposure. If Pitt really wants to become a football power, it has to start putting fans in the seats and keeping WVU and PSU would be an excellent start to that.

Too bad that logic isn’t really a priority but if ND did join the ACC, the chips would start falling into place. ND will NEVER join the Big Tenwelve though – geographically/academically it makes sense but from an exposure point of view it doesn’t fit ND’s alumni base or ego.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.13.12 @ 9:34 am

@JCE, don’t think there are any Oliver Luck lovers on here, none that I’ve seen anyhow.

He said they were leaving, and they did.

Can’t change the truth.

Comment by Dan 05.13.12 @ 10:12 am

FSU will not leave the ACC. Yes, I know the head of The Board of Trustees has opened a can of worms (note his term expires in June of this year..nice timing champ).

The ACC contract appears to leave $$ on the table that should have been discussed at the annual meeting prior to signing with ESPN. It is no secret that Mickey Mouse, the parent Company of ESPN will not do anything that would jeopardize its “golden” image, so rest assured cooler heads will prevail.

FSU has somehow managed to have an athletic department that has been losing millions of dollars despite a 70,000 seat stadium that is filled to capacity at 90% of the games.

A shift by The Seminoles to the Big 12 would be absolutely CRAZY….for the additional $3 mil a hefty portion of the extra moola will be sent down the drain in heavy travel expenses to the far flung reaches of Big12 Land.

From a recruiting standpoint the Southeastern base that feeds FSU will not exactly be thrilled to be playing Baylor, OK State, Kansas, etc. Parents will not be able to travel to see their “student” athletes play in Austin.

The powers that be who control the ACC do have to explain how terms were reached on a contract without a discussion at the annual meeting….I believe that some heads will roll…..Swofford???

Comment by isnore 05.13.12 @ 10:28 am

Impatient? That word is never acceptable when describing anyone’s actions relative to the Big East. The BE is to college athletics what Nero’s fiddle was to Rome.
Pitt’s timing is perfect. You take a disorganized, leaderless foe and you make them do something in unison. Of course the BE views Pitt’s actions as “regrettable”…they regret they have not seen the nose on their face fir the umpteenth time.

The BE is a garbage league. End of discussion.

Comment by SFPitt 05.13.12 @ 10:32 am

I think for a conference to in bed with ESPN – that the ESPN will want to keep its product attractive – and I’m can find more pocket change to appease FSU. None of this was an unknown to FSU or ESPN. I can’t imagine that there isn’t at least some posturing on FSU’s part or that ESPN isn’t prepared to make adustments.

Comment by JoeP 05.13.12 @ 1:41 pm

I’m sure ESPN can find more pocket change is what I meant to type…

Comment by JoeP 05.13.12 @ 1:42 pm

What’s with the rumor on the Lair that the ACC ESPN deal is not really for $17.1 Million/year at this time but stays at the current $12.9 million for several (five?) years before increasing to that number since it is a back-loaded contract?

Anyone know the real info?

Comment by pitt1972 05.13.12 @ 2:18 pm


Everything I’m reading from every reputable source says 17.1/year now, because of Pitt and Cuse coming in.

Comment by Lou Gagliardi 05.13.12 @ 2:41 pm

The deal is backloaded. Hardly an increase for schools. That’s what I am reading. This deal stinks. Swofford should get fired. The only way it can be renegotiated is if they expand again. Watch for some more ACC invites soon. Good chance FSU bolts.

Comment by TX Panther 05.13.12 @ 2:59 pm

Bombshell dropped. The head of the FSU board of Trustee’s is quoted as saying, they have interest in the Big 12. This just after the FSU AD on Friday denied everything.
Last article I just read on Yahoo, suggests Miami not Clemson might be tagged up with FSU.
link to

While neither team has been up to snuff recently, they still are by far the 2 ‘Name Brands’ in the ACC. And also would lead to less recruiting for the ACC in Florida.

ESPN better ante up some more money in the earlier years of this contract or this could become a disaster for the ACC. I guess maybe their thinking could be along these lines. Even if the Big 12 implodes someday with Texas and the others leaving for the PAC 12, FSU & Miami with their football ‘Name Brands’ wouldn’t have a hard time finding a new conference to settle in.

According to that article the new ACC TV contract is ‘backloaded’ on the money upgrades, which does nothing for FSU or the others now.

What just sounded great just a few days ago, now is beginning to lose that new car feeling.

Comment by Emel 05.13.12 @ 3:33 pm

Comment by Emel 05.13.12 @ 3:35 pm

Wetzel Yahoo sports blog indicated that sources told him that the full $17.1 million wouldn’t be reached until 2021 (nine years into the contract extension). I hope that info is proven wrong because that kind of thing could drive FSU and another team or two out the door. Hopefully it kicks in as soon as Pitt and Cuse are on board.

For conspiracy theorists: If $17.1 M doesn’t happen until Pitt and Cuse are in–Pitt’s lawsuit is to make sure Pitt and Cuse are in for 2013-14 to save the ACC ESPN deal and to keep FSU from bolting because they have to wait longer to get past ~$13-14 M.

Comment by pitt1972 05.13.12 @ 3:49 pm

Does Swofford have the first clue in how to negotiate a respectable contract? It appears to me that he would have trouble spelling cat if you spotted him the c and the t.

Comment by TX Panther 05.13.12 @ 4:57 pm

Bombshell dropped but a dud, “page no longer available” (and likely the scribe as well)

Comment by steve1 05.13.12 @ 5:07 pm

if this is true and it stays at 12 million for even 5 years you can bet at leat 2 teams will leave for 8 million they will be out the door
8 million a year more for 5 years they will be going 17 million a year was not enough 12 million will be chump change to the SEC OR BIG 12 THIS BETTER BE A JOKE IF NOT HEADS SHOULD ROOL.

Comment by Frankcan 05.13.12 @ 5:16 pm

Ithought the deal was bad when it was 17 million now we find out it is 12 million for the next 5 years what fool signed that deal. chas do you stiil think this is a great deal.
i am not sure of this but did not the big east turn down 14 million last year.
why is pitt allways geting fucked over why does this happen to us. it looks like another unstudy
conference with a fucked up leader who should be fired if i was FSU i would look to leave to the SEC or big 12 becuse money talks the rest is bull shit.

Comment by Frankcan 05.13.12 @ 6:27 pm

I don’t think we’ll ever see Penn State leaving the Big Ten, because they make too much money there. I think they would have better oppertunities for success in football in the ACC and it would bring them back into east renewing series with Syracuse, Pitt and Boston College. Also I see little chance that the Pitt-West Virginia football series will contunue. Oliver Luck is the AD and he isn’t too keen on keeping it going. Actually from what I’ve heard from O’Brian’s comments he would like to see Pitt and Penn State playing again.

Comment by Justinian 05.13.12 @ 6:44 pm

I’m with you Frankcan. There needs to be new leadership in the ACC. This deal sucks and unless the Domers and State Penn join, it won’t be getting significantly better, therefore, some schools are going to look like FSU. Money talks and Swofford is full of bullshit. What an inept negotiator he is. I’m now thinking twice about bending over and becoming Texas’s bitch. I have buyers remorse with the ACC.

Comment by TX Panther 05.13.12 @ 7:14 pm

I’m no Olie Luck lover but I respect the bastard. The Hoopies could very well be making 30 million per year which includes tier 3 if FSU and Miami join while Pitt gets stuck at 12 million. Pitt won’t be able to compete and will never become elite unless the money is equitable. Again, the ACC is the better fit but show me the fuckin money!!

Comment by TX Panther 05.13.12 @ 7:23 pm

TX Panther penn state wont leave big 10 they make to mutch money mony talks bull shit walks i wish people would get there head on stright well if penn state came give me a break they dont care abought us get over peen state wish in one hand shit in the outher see wich one fill up first
But now back to the ACC it is some what fucked up like the big east not as bad but not what we thought it would be it has a poor leader who just signed a bad contract that for years makes us low man on the tv pay out and makes it ripe to have teams jump ship if they can that is not the stable conference we thougtit would be. do you remmber when last yearthe sec had us on there list i wish we would have pushed that harder to see were it would go why does pitt allways seamed to get fucked over and this contract is so long the man who signed it should be fired i wonder if espn payed him under the table no one can be that dumb 12 million a year for 5 more years chump change compared to what the big 12 and the sec will get the 17 million was to small and we wont even get that.

Comment by Frankcan 05.13.12 @ 8:04 pm

I hear that every conference has a back-loaded deal. PAC12 starts at 15 eventually averages 21. B12 won’t really start at $20-22, that will be their average and they will start several million lower than that in the beginning. So, if the ACC starts lower than 17 (say around 14) its not really much of a problem.

Comment by pitt1972 05.13.12 @ 9:04 pm

I have to disagree a bit on this one. While there have been many aspects of being a member of the BE which have been positive (primarily, if not exclusively, basketball), this conference, as a business model, has been a disaster since it’s inception. There is little, if any, “brand valule”. Any financial gains schools have come by in the last 20 years have been because of the schools image themselves which then carried over to the BE nameplate.

The only entity who have mismanaged things worse that I can think of is, you guessed it, Pitt. Starting with the blackball of Penn State, the Pitt administration has been the gang who can’t shoot straight. Without rehashing all of the history which take a three credit course to get through, fast forward to the SP regime(s) – we will focus on the sequel. If this guy was a CEO he would have been in the unemployment line a long time ago. We have had five football coaches in the last 16 months and he sits by while our cousins to the South give him a lesson in hardball. They are playing Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma at home this year. Pitt is playing Gardener Webb, Temple and Youngstown St. Defend and rationalize all you want, but at the end of the day, read ‘em and weep. And, now after how many months of mismanagement, incompetent negotiating and dithering he finally decides to get serious? After he sat by and allowed the BE to jam that schedule down his throat and he got NOTHING in return? Are you kidding me? And now he goes crying to the legal system to bail him out? Pitt should have left the BE years ago. Whatever. But once they decided to go, GO. Take control of your own destiny let everybody in the room know you are going on your terms. Again, say what you want to about Ollie, but he got what he wanted in the end and he stood up for his fan base. The business world, including sports, is not comprised of all born again christains who come to the table with compromise and altrusim in mind. It is a brutal game and only the strong prevail. Stevie can blame the BE all he wants but those empty seats in September are all on him. And as long as he is running things down in Oakland, Pitt as a sports program will continue to suffer from his poor leadership. The only thing wrong about this lawsuit is it is a day late and a dollar short.

At least someone at Pitt gets the big picture! BTW will same ACC be there in a year? Looks like FSU and Clemson are moving on.

Comment by A-Wild 05.13.12 @ 9:57 pm

Nordy and stevie P must go. Pitt needs new leaders with some brass balz. Pitt needs to look out for number 1. That’s Pitt if Pitt doesn’t know it. We are only cursed because Pitt’s leadership team has only been a step above Enron’s in the past 30 years.

Comment by TX Panther 05.13.12 @ 10:07 pm

BTW Ollie would love a Pitt-WVU game. Not sure why people would think otherwise. He justs wants to make sure we play at a neutral site like Heinz Field every other year! lol!

Comment by A-Wild 05.13.12 @ 10:08 pm

Dan and others who think that Ollie Luck did something so bold and extraordinary: Steve Pederson and Pitt decided they were going to make the first move and jump to the ACC. And they did. Even more bold. Can’t change that truth either. I think there are some who have lost sight of that. Everything that Ollie did after is just a reaction.

Comment by JCE 05.13.12 @ 10:35 pm

First, let me say, I love the move to the ACC (allthough I could do without the FSU ruckus now),

I believe most of us do. It’s been well documented that many of us on here have been calling for Pitt to go to the Big 10 or ACC for years.

Most of us have given credit to M.N. and even S.P. for this move.

However, I wouldn’t call anything M.N., S.P. or Oliver Luck bold or extraordinary.

They were all reactions. There is nothing bold or extraordinary about running from a hurricane.

It’s something that had to be done.

As for Oliver Luck, I don’t know the guy, the reason I don’t like him, is because WVU is second only to PSU on my college football hate meter.

However, I do realize the fact, that when he said “we will not be in the Big East next year”, a lot of people in the media and on blogs said, “yes you will”.

Then they filed a lawsuit. Again, many people said “you’ll still be here for a couple more years” I did not have an opinion, as I don’t do law. Chas’ had some blogs on it, and people weighed in. A lot of people still said, he’s in a pickle he can’t get out of.

Well, he did. And basically, that’s all I’m addressing, from the sideline. A lot of people said he couldn’t and won’t be able to do it, and he said he would.

And he did.

Comment by Dan 05.14.12 @ 12:32 am

Also, my Oliver Luck comments werent’ addressing this years Pitt schedule and Pitt being stuck in the Big East for an extra year, hopefully not two.

Now, looking at it, and a couple people above have now brought it up, ya, the more I think about it…

why didn’t we push harder to get out of the BE mess sooner??

What, to be the “good guy”? Good guy to what??

Now, we have Gardner-Webb, Youngstown State and the rest of the garbage BE schedule, oh boy!!!

While WVU has Oklahoma, TCU and the rest of the Big 12.

Maybe Pitt and Syracuse just should have sued last year. Not looking forward to seeing the stands for Gardner-Webb.

Comment by Dan 05.14.12 @ 12:40 am

And on top of it, Chas, I owe you an apology. I said the BE and ACC could not be compared with regards to stability.

Now, with all this FSU crap, Miami crap, other teams crap, poor monetary contract crap with ESPN, only getting 12M for the next 5 years, instead of 17M (which was questionable to begin with),

I apologize! I really thought that we had found a stable home for the next 20 years.

I don’t know what to believe anymore. Still glad we got out of the BE, but all this b.s. out there is starting to take some of the shine off.

Comment by Dan 05.14.12 @ 12:44 am

I don’t know about that, Dan.

Is the TV deal perfect? No, it’s not but the ACC is still stable.

FSU, and Miami, have “blameeveryonebutyourselfitis” (blame everyone but yourself itis for those having trouble.)

Their on field product is a mess; as is their off field..and they basically want to blame the ACC instead of turning the mirror inward.

Fine, let them go and be Texas’ woman.

That still leaves 10 org. members plus Pitt and Cuse. That’s far better than a WVU/TCU-less Big East that’s going to include Houston, SMU, Navy, San Diego State, UCF, and possible Boise State.

Comment by Lou Gagliardi 05.14.12 @ 3:14 am

All Smilely Steve did was answer the phone. If not for BC, Pitt would still be in a far worse situation. Can’t reiterate this enough, the ACC needs new leadership. The buyout clause needs to increase again. All those schools not willing to sign it should be asked to leave. The ACC needs to approach Rutgers and UConn today and go straight to 16. If NC State leaves, ask ECU with conditions attached. If FSU or Miami leave, ask South Florida or CFU. If Maryland leaves, ask Temple. If Va Tech leaves, have the Commonwealth drag it through the courts. If Ga Tech leaves, make a play for Vandy. If Clemson leaves, ask Cincy or Louisville. In the end, the ACC will become Big East V2 and will be on the outside looking in. We’ve become like those we surround ourselves. A basketball school. The football bus is leaving us behind. Thank you Bozik for starting the curse.

Comment by TX Panther 05.14.12 @ 8:14 am

If the ACC takes the “Keep What You Kill” (i.e. post-season money) stance, then let the strong survive and flourish (just as long as the follow the “rules”).

Comment by CompLit 05.14.12 @ 9:07 am

@Lou Gagliardi, thank you Lou! The light of day has come, and as I have always been, extremely pro move to the ACC.

Was ranting a bit.

Allthough I’ve always posted on expansionocalypse, and found it somewhat interesting, I never did it with joy. I was always hoping it was a means to and end.

i.e. 4 conf. of 16 or 5 conf. 14, whatever, and it would be done. Done, at least for 10 or 15 years or so.

I’ve always just wanted them to hurry up and decide where everyones going, get there, and let’s play ball. No joy in conference expansion itself per se, just always wanted everyone to grab their chair.

FSU, Clemson didn’t bug me at first, but I have to say, the FSU BOT comment, under cutting his own a.d. does bug me.

Yes, we could lose them, and be just fine. I hope we don’t lose them however. They are one of the teams I was looking forward to playing.

The light of day, also brings me to the tv contract. A lot of speculation out there. I really don’t think John Swofford is stupid, there has to be more too it.

Also, a lot of other schools said they are very happy with the deal.

Which brings us to your point, that FSU’s troubles are much more than the conference or even money. More, how they’re spending their money.

Off the ledge.

Comment by Dan 05.14.12 @ 9:30 am


I think the real answer on the ACC ESPN deal is that the other conferences’ deals have been reported in the press in exactly the same way as the ACC deal was reported–as if the amount per team is the starting figure for year one of each contract. That is to say, that the amount of money/year/team reported for each and all of the several conferences is actually the average amount over the life of back-loaded deals and not the year #1 amounts as assumed by fans. That certainly appears to be the case with the PAC12 deal which I read somewhere actually starts at $15 million and not its average of $21 million. I am not sure of the others; but, only suspect they are also back-loaded like the PAC12 and (we think) the ACC deal.

It would be very helpful if someone in the press would actually do some thorough research and report the various contract info accurately so that a year-to-year comparison of the various conference deals could be made to better see what the real (and not supposed or imagined) money differential is on an annual basis going forward.

Comment by pitt1972 05.14.12 @ 10:22 am

Since it’s the beginning of a new week, I will try to put some positive spin on this guys. :-)

Even if it’s only $12 Million for the first couple years, that’s still far better than the $3 Million per year we’ve been getting from the BigEast. ( I think I read somewhere it was only $3 Mil)

And we’re getting off a sinking ship for sure, another positive. Sure the ACC for football isn’t the Queen Mary, but’s it’s not the Titanic either, which the BigEast Football surely is.

And thirdly, if FSU & Miami bolt for where ever, hey just look at it like this… two (2) less losses for our beloved Panthers annually. If any of you have forgotten the last disaster encounter at home against Miami, I haven’t. (i’m sure Sir Tino hasn’t either)

Comment by Emel 05.14.12 @ 10:24 am

Oh and btw, I was on here back when sources were saying PITT was on the Big 12 wishlist, pre-ACC deal. And I suggested PITT should at least look into it.

That if we wanted to be BIGTIME again, we had to play with the BIG BOYS. (ie. Texas, Okla, & some of the others) And the money was huge.

90% or more of you, shot me down, like a kamikaze plane over Okinawa (that was a sea/air/land battle in the Pacific in WW2, where thousands of kamikazes were shot down by the Good Guys).
link to

Just sayin !

Veritas et Virtus !

Comment by Emel 05.14.12 @ 10:37 am

The ACC is still the better fit. It just needs to be competitive with what the other conferences get. $17M is competitive with $20M but what worries me is if $20M becomes $25M by taking FSU and Miami. That $17M drops and the gulf becomes larger. Pitt won’t be able to hang with the elites unless the money is more equitable.

I joke when I say becoming Texas’s bitch. There is no way Pitt should ever agree to that. Texas drove off A&M, Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri. The Sooners can barely tolerate the Horns.

The ACC is in the footprint of the vast majority of alumni. It is academically superior which means research dollars. The basketball is better.

In the Big 12, there are only 2 Big BOYS and both haven’t done so well lately.

I hate to say it but Notre Dame controls the ACC’s fate.

Comment by TX Panther 05.14.12 @ 10:57 am

Funny, the ACC was holding their Spring meetings at Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton over the weekend.
The latest:

After initially declining to comment, Fisher said he was confident FSU President Eric Barron and the trustees would evaluate the situation and lead the university in the right direction. One day earlier, Fisher told news media at a booster gathering in Orlando that if jumping to the Big 12 “is what’s best for Florida State, then that’s what we need to do.”

Fisher’s comments followed a statement earlier in the day from Haggard, who criticized the ACC for favoring the four North Carolina schools and for not brokering a larger contract during its recent renegotiation with television partners ABC and ESPN.

(** next part is interesting)
Because part of Haggard’s statement was based on misinformation regarding terms of the deal, Barron felt compelled to issue a public apology to the ACC late Saturday night. Barron went on to clarify that the university isn’t trying to leave the conference.

(wow a public apology to the ACC, yea while he’s probably on the phone with the Texas AD and the Big 12 commissioner at the same time)

Comment by Emel 05.14.12 @ 10:59 am

I really hope that ESPN is engaged and prepared to protect their investment in the ACC. It’s bad enough is a brand like FSU were to go, worse – much worse that the hoopies are salivating over this.

As for joining the Big 12. Ugh. Yeah Texas, OK and then who cares?

Comment by JoeP 05.14.12 @ 11:00 am

**whole article from above

link to

@Tx Panther
The ACC is in the footprint of the vast majority of alumni. It is academically superior which means research dollars. The basketball is better.

In the Big 12, there are only 2 Big BOYS and both haven’t done so well lately.

I hate to say it but Notre Dame controls the ACC’s fate.

Comment by TX Panther 05.14.12 @ 10:57 am

While Texas & Oklahoma had off years, their football programs are in far better shape than the two Big Dogs of the ACC, that being FSU & Miami.

Big 12 Football is not 2-13 in BCS Bowls as the ACC is. Big 12 Football is far better than ACC football and despite the losses u noted, still has a more marketable football brand than the ACC.
Which is why they are going to get a far better TV contract than the ACC.

While your other points about academics and basketball are certainly valid. AGAIN what’s driving all this conference shuffling is FOOTBALL, not academics or basketball.

Hail to PITT !

Comment by Emel 05.14.12 @ 11:11 am

If the playoff negotiations result in a conference winner rule, FSU stays. If not, they’re gone.

Comment by Chris 05.14.12 @ 11:53 am

Found this that helps explain 3rd tier rights.

link to

Comment by giveitarest 05.14.12 @ 12:42 pm

@giveitarest, good link!

@EMEL, we most always agree, but, I’m still sour on the Pitt to the Big 12.

I don’t like the geography, but, no matter what anyone says, Texas, Okie could be gone to another conference in a second, or Texas could go independent any time.

Yes, they have a contract, but, one thing we all should have learned by now, even up here in the North East, is that Texas does what Texas wants, and Texas is looking out for no one, except Texas.

Personally, I love the ACC for football. I think there are plenty of “big boys” in the conference that we can work on attaining their status.

No, not the SEC, but plenty of room to improve our program, and plenty of good teams.

As long as it stays like this.

If FSU, Miami, Va Tech, Ga Tech or Clemson leave, and we replace them with Rutgers, UCONN, USF and Cincinnati, then ya, send me to the vomitorium!!!

After reading “giveitarests” link, it looks like the BOT guy, really spoke without knowing the facts.

Anyhow, hope all is well down in the Carolinas. Still haven’t been down, hopefully end of summer maybe??

Comment by Dan 05.14.12 @ 1:07 pm

First off, Florida State is only in the ACC because of their football prowess. Academically, they are at the bottom of the ACC. My opinion, if FSU want’s to bolt to the Big 12, let them go.

The ACC is a quality conference and Pitt belongs in the ACC.

Let’s forget about who Pitt plays this year. I hope Pitt win’s all their games and get’s a BCS offer. Next season though, I’d like Pitt to be an official member of the ACC.

Regardless of how the major conferences shape out, Pitt belongs in the ACC and will do well there. HTP!

Comment by MariettaMike 05.14.12 @ 2:04 pm

I hope FSU leaves & makes room for UConn, but I extremely doubt that will happen. FSU alums are disappointed that FSU hasn’t been a top 10 team in many years, & think they will be if they leave the ACC. They won’t be. The Big 12 is not a good fit. The SEC would be but the Gators don’t want them there!

Comment by Mindoz 05.14.12 @ 6:51 pm

[…] fact is, Pitt only filed that lawsuit in mid-May. Two months ago. I know it seems longer, but that it really isn’t. That put all negotiations […]

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