July 16, 2012

The Big East and Syracuse announced their agreement for the Orange to leave the Big East for the ACC on July 1, 2013.

The Big East Conference and Syracuse University today announced that both organizations have reached an agreement on Syracuse’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 Syracuse, the Big East members will vote, in accordance with the Big East’s bylaws, to terminate Syracuse’s membership in the Big East effective July 1, 2013, at which point Syracuse will join the ACC. In addition to other consideration, Syracuse will make a total cash payment to the Big East of $7.5 million.

[Emphasis added.]

Now Pitt has the whole lawsuit thing going against the Big East, which kind of slows down Pitt’s exit. In addition, Pitt AD Steve Pederson has emphatically said on more than one occasion that Pitt will not pay more than the $5 million exit fee.

The impulse is to say, that Pitt easily gets the $2.5 million back just in the TV revenue uptick of going to the ACC. So, stop being stubborn and pay the extra. Afterall, WVU had to pay $22 million to get out. $7.5 million is a relative bargain.

There is also one other significant difference between the Pitt situation and Syracuse. At least in terms of money. Pitt lost two home games because of the departure of WVU and the non-entry of TCU. Syracuse was slated to be on the road for those games, so it was much easier to replace those games and not incur the economic losses Pitt has. In addition, Pitt cancelled/bought out a non-con game to accommodate the Big East and TCU for 2012.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Pitt is going to be in the ACC by July 1, 2013. The only questions are the money and how acrimonious the final separation will be.

Let’s just bite the bullet, pay the $7.5 mil, and get out of this horsesh** conference already.

Comment by Scott 78 07.16.12 @ 1:14 pm

I don’t think Pitt can afford the 7 plus million, they will more than likely try to sue and strike a settlement out of court for Stevie’s 5 mil, but you never know, maybe we should take up a collection for the early exit for the ACC fund.

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat 07.16.12 @ 1:25 pm

Screw paying extra… The Big East is screwing Pitt every chance it gets. Give the Big East a little kiss on the way out the door by making them pay our exit fee for letting TCU out early. The Football schedule SUCKS this year.

Comment by Mike in Harmony 07.16.12 @ 1:33 pm

The collateral damage continues to add up for Pitt. First and foremost are the legal expenses, which Syracuse has not incurred. Second and more importantly is the amount of time the Pitt Administration spends on the lawsuit that could be spent elsewhere such as marketing and public relations. From a negotiating standpoint, you never, double ever draw the line in the sand like Steve Pederson did.

There are damages as far as filling games, but the amount owed cannot be determined until after the games have been played. AS a brief example, Pitt will need to prove that if they played TCU, ticket sales, income would be “X amount”. Now that they play Temple or whoever the sub is, ticket sales are now “Y amount”. If there is a proven loss, those are cover damages and can be re-couped by Pitt. However, Pitt will have trouble calculating a loss, due to dismal sales overall, which is a problem for Pederson and the legal team to prove.

Regardless, Pitt and Pederson chose the wrong route from a PR perspective. So what is the magic number for the buyout? My guess is $7M. Problem is, Pederson already said he wouldn’t pay over $5M, so he loses face. His ego continues to bring the program down.The good news is that he can turn around and say the $5M was his negotiation ploy to keep the BE in check. Good luck with that smiley.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 07.16.12 @ 1:49 pm

If worse comes to worse … Chas Rich will represent us fans in a class action suit against the BE since we were supposed to witness TCU and WVU at Heinz this year but these 2 were replaced by Gardner Webb

Comment by wbb 07.16.12 @ 1:54 pm

I’m afraid the BE will use the Syracuse exit fee of 7.5 Mil as a precedent and try to hold Pitt to it, despite that Pitt suffered more injury than ‘Cuse did.

Gotta wonder if Nordy is giving his counterpart at ‘Cuse an earful this afternoon over this.

Comment by Chuck Morris 07.16.12 @ 2:21 pm

@dhuff – there are a lot of reasons to be critical of Pederson, but I think you may be overstating the negative effect of the lawsuit (btw, the decision to file that suit almost certainly was made in close consultation with Nordenburg and Jerry Cochran). First, although my circle may not be extremely large and may contain an unusually high concentration of lawyers, I don’t know anybody that viewed the statement about not paying more than $5 million as anything BUT a negotiating ploy. Likewise, I have always thought the lawsuit was simply a means to force negotiations and to put forth a basis for knocking the buyout down a bit. This is not a case that is likely to go to trial, particularly if it is removed to federal court. It may be an ugly dance, and it may not be the dance that you or I would choose to engage, but it is a dance nonetheless.

Additionally, most of the damages that Pitt is claiming can be calculated right now. Pitt probably isn’t even bringing loss of ticket sales into the equation because (i) the difference in actual dollars is relatively small, and (ii) as you mention, it is difficult to calculate. The figures that they will argue are much easier to estimate and much more significant. These include the buyout paid to TCU, the guarantee (if any) paid to Gardner Webb, and the actual costs incurred in replacing the lost games. I don’t know the total for these, but I’d guess it is around $1 million, although Pitt may try to argue for more.

You are absolutely correct that at some point the two sides will be so close that further arguing becomes pointless (and not cost effective). I think we are actually pretty close to that point. My guess is that the final number is around $6.5 – $7 million and that it is announced pretty soon.

Comment by Pantherman13 07.16.12 @ 2:21 pm

Becuse of the suit they will screw with pitt we wont be out in july.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.16.12 @ 2:29 pm

Pitt is a public university in a state administration that has taken it to task on expenditures. Syracuse is private. I think that is a factor.

Comment by nw pa pitt fan 07.16.12 @ 2:31 pm

Pitt can afford 7.5 m, but they shouldn’t have to pay that much.

Comment by A 07.16.12 @ 2:36 pm

didn’t Pitt have to buyout UCF a couple of years ago because of the TCU home game this year?

Comment by wbb 07.16.12 @ 2:39 pm

Don’t worry about it FRANKCAN. We’ll be out July 1 and in the ACC.

Even if it did drag on a bit into the winter, the ACC will make the schedules, and just not release them until it’s over.

I gotta think everyone wants this mess over with, and wouldn’t be suprised if there isn’t an announcement this week, and def. before football season.

Comment by Dan 07.16.12 @ 2:59 pm

I would also think that Pitt and Syracuse are in pretty good communications as to what each is doing also.

Comment by Dan 07.16.12 @ 3:00 pm

If Pitt gets out for 5 million then Pitt will be saving money compared to Cuse, because legal fees won’t add up to 2.5 million. I’m sure Pitt’s pending lawsuit helped out the Cuse because the last thing the BE wanted was to have to fight two lawsuits at once. Before Pitt initiated the lawsuit, I remember there being rumblings that the BE wanted to force both schools to pay more in line with what WVU paid. I say go hard with the lawsuit to make sure the horrible BE doesn’t get an extra penny, especially since they screwed Pitt in both football and basketball scheduling.

Comment by Wardapalooza 07.16.12 @ 3:05 pm

Let’s not forget about the loss of the “sellout” WVU home game. The replacment game could easily cost Pitt a $2 MM loss in ticket sales. Pitt’s situation is very different from Syracuse.

Comment by Rayhpgh 07.16.12 @ 3:18 pm

Big East had to let highest payor out first…if they had let Syracuse out for 5, they would have defeated their argument against Pitt and TCU.

Look for Pitt to be out during same time frame and for 5 million.

For everyone who thinks Pitt should pay more money, write a check to the university.

Comment by SFPitt 07.16.12 @ 3:33 pm

I would not be at all surprised to find out that Pitt, Cuse and the ACC evaluated the situation, decided Pitt had the best case (damages due to buyouts, guarantees, lost revenue, etc.) and they all agreed to a “cost sharing” mechanism. They may have felt the BE would be harder on Cuse and so Pitt’s lawsuit was seen as a way of forcing the BE to act more quickly on Syracuse’s exit. Let’s see how the rest of the dominoes fall before we overreact.

Comment by Pitt Dad 07.16.12 @ 3:35 pm

If I was the Pitt administration, I would be upset with Cuse for hiding behind our muscle and sliping out the back door, especially if we had a chance to get our cheaper. That could have worked to the Orange’s advantage, IF they were smart, but that’s a big if.

Comment by Get the Glory 07.16.12 @ 3:55 pm

Who know how the ACC is helping.

On another front, any Greentree updates? Thanks.

Comment by steve1 07.16.12 @ 4:14 pm

SFPitt, good points

Comment by wbb 07.16.12 @ 4:23 pm

And one other thing…this makes WVU look even more desperate than before. Now they are the ugly stepchild that just wants to be liked.

Comment by Get the Glory 07.16.12 @ 4:24 pm

Not a Steve Pederson fan but I’m with him on this one. Because of the Big East, we have the 77th rated toughest schedule by Phil Steele. Has the Big East collected TCU’s $5 million yet? Anyway, if 2013 is the last year of BCS eligibility, staying and winning the conference and going to a BCS game wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen.

Comment by Tonyinhouston 07.16.12 @ 4:32 pm

“Dear BigGuy

We know how much that you and Pitt alumni of a similar mind want an opportunity to watch Pitt play the likes of Duke, Wake Forest and all of the other powerhouse ACC football teams. We also know that you have tired of Big East basketball. We know that you want Pitt to leave the Big East as quickly as possible. According we are requesting that you increase your annual donations to the university to make it happen.

The Pitt Administration”

Ah…yah. Sure. Uh huh.

Comment by BigGuy 07.16.12 @ 5:21 pm

I always believed “BigGuy” was an alias.

Son of a gun!

Comment by steve1 07.16.12 @ 5:36 pm


WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Dan 07.16.12 @ 5:48 pm


Ehh…it’s better then the Big East, but nothing to go crazy over.

Switching from the Big East to the ACC for football is like surviving a horrendous car crash only to find out you have inoperable cancer. Both are going to kill you (or the program) one just takes longer. Wow am I positive today!

Comment by Marco 07.16.12 @ 6:12 pm

According to 93.7 The Fan, Pitt is out for $5 mil.

Haven’t heard it anywhere else. Will be interested to see what the local TV news sez.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.16.12 @ 6:16 pm

The ACC has several nationally known programs that have highly ranked. It’s no worse or better than the Big 10 (or is it Big 11 or anything but Big 12).

I think ACC football will be fun. Much more than the BE.

Comment by velvil 07.16.12 @ 6:24 pm

It’s called posturing my friends. The BE and its school are now posturing. They know that we are out and they know that the benchmark cost has been set (7M). In their eyes PITT was the ring leader and this is their last opportunity to stick it to us so they are going to make us wait and spend legal money. In the end they will let us out but it will not happen until late fall early winter. They are simply making a point now. Let’s be patient and let them have their way for a while.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 07.16.12 @ 6:42 pm

This legal cost conversation is probably pointless because it is most likely in house lawyers that are doing all of the work or it is some sort of retainer. Yes, their energy could be directed elsewhere but the legal costs are the least of the issues.

It will be pretty enjoyable if PITT gets out for less than $5M to laugh at WVU who paid $22M. Regardless of how they paid it, they are still responsible for a majority of it whether now or in the future.

Comment by Todd Gack 07.16.12 @ 6:43 pm

By my observations, in addition to their conference games, traditionally, Pitt scheduled two patsies and three games with “reputable” schools. Last year they were Iowa, ND and Utah. The year before: ND, Miami and Utah. I assume that Pitt will want to keep at least two patsies on its schedule. Accordingly, with a nine game ACC schedule, there will be room for only one out of conference game with a major school. If we are able to keep ND, there likely won’t be room for any other major team except the two scheduled games with PSU. A patsie will have to be dropped for those two years. Don’t know how Pitt will deal with the scheduled Navy games in the future.

Comment by BigGuy 07.16.12 @ 6:44 pm

Sorry for the false alarm. The Fan now says Pitt will pay $5 mil IF they can get out early. oops.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.16.12 @ 6:45 pm

Any word from anyone what the “other consideration” is? For other schools that have left conferences, there has been the cash payment element, but also a revenue forfeiture. Presumably Syracuse is actually paying more than 7.5 million, even if it’s only marginally more. We haven’t yet seen the breakdown of what is in the settlement beyond the cash payment.

Comment by 15207 07.16.12 @ 7:07 pm

Wow, Marco, you’re a tough sell.


The lists are comparable?? Just an “ehh”??

Hey, to each their own.

I for one am pumped.

Where we should be. The Eastern Football Conf.

With like minded academic schools.

Football has FSU in many pre season top 5’s. Clemson and Va. Tech in many pre season top 10’s.

Others peppered in and out of top 25.

With the Big East most years, we would just hope WVU could get in at 24 or 25, just so we could say we have one team in the top 25.

I really think it’s night and day, not even close.

And finally in a conference. The Big East was always a league. A basketball league, a football league, a soccer league.

Some played here, some played there, some were in for this sport, out for another.

And, they haven’t learned anything. Still going to be a patchwork of schools. Only now, from Stoors to San Diego.

With the league securing the Orange Bowl and it’s rotation in the playoffs, it has it’s place at the table. No one going anywhere.

Hell, I can’t wait for the schedule to come out, to see what two road games my family will be going on.

Double Hell, I wouldn’t mind Duke and Wake Forest. I’d love to spend a long weekend at either campus. Have never been to either.

Can’t wait. We’re all different though.

Comment by Dan 07.16.12 @ 7:31 pm

Frankly, comparing the lists. I don’t see one team from the ACC, when talking about football, basketball, football and basketball, geography and academics, who I’d be willing to trade out.

I mean, of course, Boise could compete, but, I don’t want any team from Idaho in a conference that has Pitt in it.

I’d be all for UCONN getting in if they ever went to 16 with ND.

Actually, the one I’d like, is the one who doesn’t start for a couple years. NAVY.

However, I don’t think their athletic budget would support an “all in” for all the olympic sports.

The ACC won’t have part time members.

But, going to a game at Annapolis is hard to beat.

Comment by Dan 07.16.12 @ 7:49 pm

Are we seriously bitching about having to pay the Big East $7.5 million? At least we will be in a stable conference. The Big East is in awful shape because of us. Our horrendous schedule this year is 100% on us. Pay up and be thankful the Big East isn’t making us stay until 2014.

Comment by TonyC 07.16.12 @ 8:38 pm

Just walk in 2013 whether or not BE agrees and let them bring the suit and try and get more than $5 million in a settlement.

Comment by pitt1972 07.16.12 @ 8:57 pm

I just want out of the big east and yes football is better in the ACC if you dont think so you are blind.
that is just the facts jack and BB is all most as good .
in fact with the teams that have left the big east.

it is now better in the ACC dont you think?

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.16.12 @ 8:58 pm

Spend the money where it counts, on good counsel. 3 to 4 million invested in an excellent law firm will pay dividends in the long run. In any case Pitt’s exit is etched in stone. We’re playing in the ACC come 2013. It’s all just a matter of $$$$$$$$.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.16.12 @ 8:59 pm

For right now, I’m standing by the University on this one. I one thing I have come to learn, those cheap SOBs at Pitt will not dole out more money than they have to. (This time I mean that in a positive way.) The Pitt financial brain trust probably knows what it will take to get out of the Big East Conference, down to the $0.01! My money is on Nordy. Keep your poker face and hold ‘em close to your chest.

Comment by IowaPanther 07.16.12 @ 9:03 pm

FWIW, The Victory Lights are on tonight.

Comment by CBC 07.16.12 @ 9:29 pm

Dan — you’ve got it right.

Comment by velvil 07.16.12 @ 10:16 pm

Screw football!
My faith in the Olympic games has been restored completely!
Read the ESPN on line stories of the sexcapades in the Olympic Village. Refreshing as hell. One guy put it best, “even if her face is a 7, her body is a 20”!
Or Ryan Lochte.. “last olympics I had a girlfriend. Big mistake!”
I will be on the lookout for the 7/20 females in London.

Comment by SFPitt 07.16.12 @ 10:47 pm

FRANKCAN, I think you’re right. Can never tell for sure of course.

Seems like there is a pretty good consensus among the masses. ACC seemed to edge out the BE in the early 2000’s, BE seemed to have the edge on the ACC in the second half of the 2000’s.

Most people I know, and articles I’ve read seem to say the same thing. Sure, anyone could make an argument for anything, but generally, seems about right.

With PITT and Syracuse going to the ACC, not even a question who the top hoops conference will be.

Comment by Dan 07.16.12 @ 10:57 pm

From a strategic standpoint the BE had to settle with Syracuse before Pitt. The only smart thing for them to do is to lock down the highest exit fees first. Once they agree to a price with one school it effectively creates a ceiling on what any other school would pay. If they agreed to $5M with Pitt there’s no way that ‘Cuse would agree to $7.5M afterwards. If they had announced a $7.5M settlement six months ago, what are the odds that WVU would have agreed to pay $20M? Zero! Now that WVU and ‘Cuse are out of the way they can get down to business with Pitt.

Comment by Financepro 07.17.12 @ 1:52 am

WTF, BigEast is doing everything to screw with us and the Syracuse sneaks didn’t even stand with us in the law suit. Always have hated them and even more so now. Bottom line is they got out early and with no law suit BECAUSE THEY WERE ONE OF THE ORIGINAL SEVEN SCHMUCKS OF THE BIGJOKE CONFERENCE.

You’ve heard of the Seven Dwarf, well meet the Seven Schmucks of the BigJoke. Syracuse never stood to firmly with the football schools either because of their schmuckdom factor. haha

Comment by Emel 07.17.12 @ 4:43 am

An exceprt from Dan’s 7:31 post …. “Double Hell, I wouldn’t mind Duke and Wake Forest.” Very Freudian … being they are nicknamed the Blue Devils and Deacon Demons

Anyway, we lost more than Syracuse due to TCU’s and WVU’s departure than Syracuse …. 2 attractive home games (both of these would have been away games for Cuse) … plus to make room for TCU, we had to buyout UCF since we already had a contract with them for a home game this season. Thus, our law suit could only be partly supported by the Cuse … nonetheless, I will be very surprised if our buyout isn’t for $ 5M

Comment by wbb 07.17.12 @ 7:36 am

by the way, with the new BE alignment, there would be 4 opponenents that we would have to travel much further than our longest ACC trip (Miami) … and it appears with the 2 division setup, we may only have to travel that far every 4 years.

Comment by wbb 07.17.12 @ 7:48 am

wbb, sharp as a tack!!!!!! LOL

Comment by Dan 07.17.12 @ 9:44 am

Devil is always in the details wbb…

Ask WVU.

Comment by sfpitt 07.17.12 @ 11:44 am

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