By Matt Sugam
Rutgers divorce from the Big East doesn’t look like it’s going to be a pretty one.
Rutgers has filed a lawsuit in attempt to get out of the $10 million buyout and 27-month waiting period the Big East mandates for leaving the conference so they can join the Big Ten by 2014. The news was first reported by Courthouse News Service.
The lawsuit states, “Rutgers claims the Big East upped the fee to $10 million at its Presidents’ Meeting on Nov. 12-13 this year.
“Upon information and belief, the new withdrawal fee of $10 million arbitrarily applies to some, but not all, of the Big East football schools, and the effect is to penalize certain members if they seek to withdraw.”
The Big East let Syracuse, Pittsburgh, TCU and West Virginia leave prior to the 27 month waiting period, and according to the lawsuit, the Big East hasn’t collected the $39.5 million in exit fees from those schools.
“Rutgers’ argument is strengthened by how conference treated Syracuse and Pittsburgh,” Michael McCan, Director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School, told SNY.tv. “Although just because the Big East treated those schools better than it legally had to does not mean the conference is necessarily obligated to treat Rutgers better than it legally has to.”
Rutgers also claims the Big East turned a blind eye to the $1.3 million the school lost from losing a home game with TCU when the Horn Frogs left the conference for the Big 12 before even joining the Big East.
Both Rutgers and the Big East declined to comment on the matter.
If Rutgers can’t leave the conference early – which seems extremely unlikely – they will join the Big Ten in the summer of 2015.