Judge: Attention! Court is now in session for the trial of West Virginia v Big East. This case is in regards to the civil lawsuit West Virgina has filed against the Big East Athletic Conference. The University alleges that the Big East committed acts which breached its contract and therefore it is null and void. Thus, West Virginia does not have to adhere to the 27 month waiting period before it can join the Big 12 conference. They claim that all blame falls on Big East commissioner John Marinatto. The commissioner and the conference have denied all charges and say the plaintiff’s claims are unfounded. We will start with opening statements.

West Virginia: The university believes it is not bound to the contractual stipulation that its football program must wait 27 months before being able to leave the Big East Conference. This is is because of action and inaction taken by the conference has voided its contract with West Virginia. We claim that the Big East has done nothing for the security of its football conference after recent defections have caused instability and uncertainty  among the remaining schools. In this atmosphere, West Virginia has been forced to take measures to ensure the continued success of its fo0tball program and thus applied for membership in the Big 12 Conference.

Big East: The Big East’s position is simply that West Virginia has a contrct with the conference and must honor its bylaws and rules. There is nothing that would justify them violating said contract in order to leave the conference before the 27 month period is up. They agreed to such a stipulation when they signed their original contract and must abide by it.

Judge: West Virginia, please proceed with your case.

WV: In the current era of conference realignment, the Big east has been hit hard while already having a tenuous grip on BCS Automatic Qualifying status. Mountaineers football is a top national program and the uncertainty of whether the conference will retain its AQ status has forced West Virginia to seek a safer home for its football team, which we believe the Big 12 will provide. Commissioner Marinatto in particular is to blame for not proactively seeking t0 maintain the stability and quality of the Big East when Pittsburgh, Syracuse and TCU announced their departures from the conference. The decline in prestige of the Big East conference is a a “…direct and proximate result of ineffective leadership and breach of fiduciary duties to the football schools by the Big East Conference and its commissioner.” 

BE: Your Honor, these accusations are false as Commissioner Marinatto has been put in an exceedingly difficult position due to the defections of such schools as West Virginia. These moves have created the instability and uncertainty that the University alleges is the fault of Commissioner Marinatto. The Big East’s case is simply that West Virgina has a contract with the Big  East and they will have to honor all parts of it, including the 27 month waiting period. The period itself was included in contracts with Big East memeber schools in order to protect the conference itself from immediate defections and to give the conference time to seek replacement members. If West Virginia had perhaps been more proactive in seeking another conference and not insisted on leaving now knowing full well they had a waiting period to abide by, then all this trouble could have been avoided.

WV: Your Honor, West Virginia is only responding to the moves of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC. With the Big East down to 6 football schools and its AQ status in jeopardy, the University’s hand was forced. The Big East is the one who should have been more proactive in securing possible members given the departures of Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami years ago. It’s not a secret that the Big East is one of the weaker BCS conferences and West Virginia is looking out for its best interests, seeing as the Big East is not.

BE: These claims are wildly inaccurate and are just a smoke screen in order for West Virginia to get out of its legal obligation to the Big East. They signed the contract with the waiting period and must abide by it. They can leave the conference when that period is over.

WV: What about TCU, they had joined the Big East, but once they realized it was a sinking ship, they jumped to the Big 12 without having to adhere to the 27 month waiting period. What makes them an exception?

BE: TCU never formally joined the Big East conference, so it does not have to abide by the waiting period. They withdrew before the date where they would formally join, so they are not held to the same standard as current Big East members.

WV: So the Big East gets to pick and choose how to enforce its rules? How is that fair to current members? Your Honor, we have clearly stated that the Big East and Commissioner Marinatto have not acted in an effective manner to secure the future of their conference. Thus West Virginia had no choice but to accept the Big 12’s invitation and our case is solid. So we are asking for an injunction on the waiting period, so the football program can start play in the Big 12 next season and not lose out on quality competition.

Judge: Big East? Your closing statement?

BE: Your Honor, the defense’s case is simple. West Virginia has a contractual obligation to adhere to the 27 month waiting period and no amount of excuses or lawsuit will get them out of that. We are worried about West Virginia’s integrity in this matter, seeing as they are only looking out for themselves and are not interested in the well-being of the Big East conference. This court must enforce the contractual waiting period.

Judge:  Very well. This court is now adjourned for the deliberation period.