Report: Big East Presidents Declined to Increase Exit Fees

Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports has obtained an e-mail sent from Big East commissioner John Marinatto to the conference's remaining members ahead of the October 2 meeting held 10 days ago. The e-mailed discussed the possibility of raising the current $5 million exit fee to anywhere between $17 and $20 million dollars. McMurphy reports:

The Big East’s presidents and chancellors discussed but did not approve a proposal that would have increased the league’s exit fee to between about $17 million and $20 million, more than three times the current amount, during the league’s Oct. 2 meeting, according to league documents obtained by CBSSports.com.

Give commissioner John Marinatto credit; at least he tried to make it tougher for teams to leave the league.

The proposed new exit amount was for $5 million plus "150 percent of the gross revenues received by a departing team in its final year in the league." Those revenues vary by school but are estimated between $8 million and $10 million annually.

Give the man credit for trying. An increase in the exit fee would be a helpful tool in the hands of the conference in trying to attract new members, especially those fearful of an unstable future for the Big East. The fact that the presidents and chancellors were unwilling to do so further illustrates the fact that all of the Big East schools outside of perhaps South Florida, are straddling a fence with pursuing a better and more stable conference on one side and stabilizing and strengthening the Big East on the other. Marinatto's e-mail also indicated that the Big East was still optimistic about its ability to land a lucrative television deal in 2012. McMurphy reports the e-mail read:

"The Big East’s media rights outlook remains optimistic as the Conference continues to be a vital and attractive media rights property heading into our scheduled September 2012 ESPN discussions. Further, we will provide you with an updated report on our BCS automatic qualifying status, arguably our single most valuable asset – which, with the help of the addition of TCU, continues to place us in a solid position for the upcoming cycle."

If this is the case, then there is still a chance for the Big East to have a positive football future. Marinatto's email also at least honestly acjnowledged the uncertainty the league faces in the short term. 

 

"The most important issue for us to focus on, however, is the future of the Conference and specifically how we can stabilize our situation in order to convey a level of comfort and security to any potential new members and provide them some assurances about their future with us.  Toward this end and per our football school discussion (Sept. 21) in New York City, we have added a new agenda item to discuss a proposed bylaw amendment in the form of the attached regarding our current withdrawal clause."


Of course, the league's members rejected any changes to the bylaws in the short term which means until the musical conference chairs are filled and potential moves by schools like West Virginia and Louisville are made, there won't be any changes. In other words, until a school feels it has no other options, it's not going to lock itself into the Big East long term. At this point, who can blame them?
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