If you file a lawsuit — even to force the movement on negotiations — there is going to be more of a delay before anything is fully settled. All matters have to be resolved. Details have to be finalized. Everything must be in place.
The 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 on hold for a good month while the Big East got its legal response together. You can’t now complain that things are going too slowly compared to Syracuse reaching a settlement.
It isn’t like Pitt and the Big East haven’t been negotiating. It is just that it is now under a more formal structure.
Federal court documents indicate that Pitt and Big East officials have had discussions that could lead to a settlement, but no trial date has been set.
The fact that Pitt had filed a lawsuit probably spurred the Big East to resume active negotiations with Syracuse to avoid another lawsuit. Even then, it took until now to work out enough of a deal that they could announce a deal.
A deal that now becomes the hard ceiling on what Pitt pays to get out of the Big East.
“This gives the negotiations a starting point,” said Michael McCann, director of the Sports Law Institute at the University of Vermont. “I don’t think Pitt would be willing to pay $7.5 (million), but would they be willing to pay $6 (million)? (Pitt) could go to its board and say it saved $1.5 (million) from what Syracuse had to pay, and that could be framed as a victory.
“In some ways, this could accelerate the settlement process.”
And an absolute floor with the $5 million exit fee. It is now a negotiation over $2.5 million and the legal fees
For those who believe that AD Pederson was absolute in saying Pitt wouldn’t pay more than the $5 million exit fee, I have a tunnel in Squirrel Hill to sell you. He and Pitt may not want to pay more than that, but if as suggested Pitt pays $6 million, it is still a win. That is only $1 million extra to leave a year earlier. You claim to have recovered the buyout for one game and some of the money lost in ticket sales because of WVU and TCU not in the Big East.
My opinion is that Pitt and the Big East would love to reach a settlement in the next week or so. Ideally have it settled before Big East Media Day so that reporters aren’t asking Big East officials about the lawsuit.
The other thing to consider, is that as much as Pitt wants out of the Big East the Big East will not want Pitt in the conference in 2013. In that year the Big East will have 18 basketball programs. They have been running schedule scenarios for 18-teams. I doubt they have been doing much for 19.
Not to mention that it would have all those issues resolved before they begin the negotiations with ESPN and other networks on their new TV rights deal.
This will get resolved soon enough. Just not today.