The Charleston Gazette's Mitch Vingle spoke with West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck yesterday about the school's pending move to the Big 12 and the legal wrangling surrounding it. Since Luck is unable to publicly comment on it any further, Vingle presented the competing lawsuits to three attorneys and the consensus was that the Big East and West Virginia will have to find a way to settle the lawsuits. Vingle writes:
Local attorney Rusty Webb calls the case "unprecedented" in regard to dueling jurisdiction and questionable enforcement power. Another, who spoke for background, said if a ruling was made against WVU in Rhode Island, an appeal would be forthcoming from the school. That would take up to a year or two to resolve.
So all signs point to WVU jumping to the Big 12 next school year and paying damages. What's odd is neither the Big East nor the Big 12 seem to be covering their respective behinds in regard to scheduling.
That means either a compromise is being hammered out now or one set of schools, likely the Big East, will be left with 11-game football schedules.
WVU must join the Big 12 to have its full slate of games. When TCU jumped to the Big East and then to the Big 12, it left a hole in the Mountaineer schedule.
According to Vingle, even if an injunction is issued for the Big East and West Virginia is ordered to stay, the Mountaineers would still make the jump to the Big 12 because of the court's inability to enforce its injunction. Still, that doesn't mean West Virginia is unmotivated to settle. Vingle writes:
On the other hand, WVU is highly motivated to settle/compromise because it needs to join the Big 12 and make that league's TV contract whole. Both WVU and the Big 12 might be working on a compromise. (Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas wasn't immediately available for comment.) Why? Because there's a chance the Big East could amend its complaint and add the Big 12 to the breach of contract suit.
That's the last thing West Virginia would want. Morgantown is already gaining a reputation across the nation's university landscape as Litigation City. It doesn't want to add to that and drag its new partners into a legal battle.
So it's in the best interest of all to compromise, reach an agreement and get those schedules released. Tickets need to be sold. The wound needs to be cauterized.
Obviously nothing will be settled in the very near future, but this is something worth paying attention to as the Big East would likely be left scrambling to fill its schedule for the 2012 season with an early departure by West Virginia.
For more coverage West Virginia's attempt to leave the Big East early, stay tuned to our Big East Falls Apart section.