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Pitt

4-1-Zoo: Pitt, Its Lawsuit & The ACC

By: Chris Gates
Paul Chryst

(File photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — So, as you’ve surely heard by now, Pitt is suing the Big East in order to ensure it gets to leave and enter the ACC after next year.

Now there’s been some reaction.

Upon hearing Pitt was suing, the situation immediately drew comparisons to West Virginia’s lawsuit against the Big East. That one resulted in the Mountaineers paying $20 million to leave and enter the Big 12 for the upcoming school year.

Pitt is trying to do the same, just not with the same type of immediacy. With precedent set by WVU, it seems that Pitt will almost definitely end up in the ACC in 2013-14.

According to a Tribune Review article, some pretty high-profile lawyers think so, too.

Whether Pitt wins its lawsuit against the Big East, the school likely will achieve the desired result, an early departure for the Atlantic Coast Conference, three nationally recognized sports attorneys said Monday.

The school filed a lawsuit Friday in Allegheny County Court against the Big East Conference seeking to leave the conference at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. Big East rules state Pitt must wait 27 months from the September 2011 announcement of an agreement to join the ACC.

“A number of things have resulted in a vastly different landscape for the Big East over the past 18 months that could further support teams departing,” said Thomas F. Holt Jr. of Boston, a partner with the Pittsburgh-based law firm of K&L Gates, who led West Virginia’s effort to leave the Big East. “Pitt may very well have a good case in support of exiting the conference early,” Holt said.

The big question moving forward appears to be just how much money Pitt will be forced to shell out to depart. It almost definitely won’t be the $20 million figure WVU paid, but it will most likely be between $10-$15 million.

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Pitt is at the ACC spring meetings because, well, they’re not allowed at the Big East spring meetings.

Syracuse is at the ACC meetings as well, and it seems like they’re content with trying to work things out without filing a lawsuit as Pitt has. At least, they’re taking that stance for now.

“I’m confident we can work things out and then we’ll go from there,” Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said when asked about a timetable for a resolution for exit before taking another step.

That’s basically him saying, ‘We don’t want to sue the league, but if this stuff doesn’t get figured out soon we’re gonna have to.’

Gross went on to say that he understands Pitt’s move to sue because everyone is feeling a sense of urgency to get things figured out.

“I think folks have shown patience and we’re getting to a point where we really need to move forward,” Gross said.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog
Twitter.com/Chris_Gates
Chris.Gates@cbsradio.com

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