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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.

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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