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West Virginia University files suit, seeking an immediate divorce from the Big East

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University filed a lawsuit Monday seeking an immediate divorce from the Big East so it can become a member of the Big 12 before the 2012 football season.

The Big 12 announced West Virginia's acceptance Friday, but the Big East said it would hold the Mountaineers to a provision in the conference bylaws that requires notice of 27 months before a school can withdraw.

The lawsuit asks the Monongalia County Circuit Court to declare the bylaws invalid, claiming that the Big East breached its fiduciary duty to West Virginia by failing to maintain a balance between football-playing and non-football members.

The complaint, which asks for a jury trial, also alleges that the Big East agreed to West Virginia's immediate withdrawal by accepting a $2.5 million down payment on its $5 million exit fee.

"Absent a Court order permanently enjoining the Big East from enforcing the 27-month notice provision against WVU, WVU has no adequate remedy at law to protect its interests and will suffer continuing and irreparable damages and injury," the lawsuit says.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto has said West Virginia is not eligible to join the Big 12 until July 1, 2014. "We are disappointed that West Virginia has adopted this strategy and cannot imagine why it believes it does not have to respect and honor the bylaws it agreed to as a member of the Big East," he said in a statement.

WVU spokesman John Bolt declined to elaborate on the suit.

ARKANSAS: Freshman Marquel Wade apologized for hitting Vanderbilt punt returner Jonathan Krause, a crushing tackle that led to Wade's ejection Saturday.

COLORADO: Coach Jon Embree said sophomore defensive backs Parker Orms and Paul Vigo were reinstated after missing four games.

INDIANA: Senior receiver Damarlo Belcher was kicked off the team two days after being suspended.

MISSOURI: Kicker Grant Ressel is likely to miss his second straight game with a hip flexor injury.

STANFORD: Tight end Zach Ertz will most likely be sidelined for at least two weeks for the No. 4 Cardinal with a lower right leg injury.

USC: Coach Lane Kiffin was reprimanded and fined $10,000 by the Pac-12 for criticizing the officiating in Saturday's triple-overtime loss to Stanford. Safety T.J. McDonald was suspended for the first half of Friday's game at Colorado for a late hit on Stanford receiver Chris Owusu.

TEXAS: Despite starting freshman David Ash the past two games, coach Mack Brown refused to name him his clear No. 1 quarterback over Case McCoy for Saturday's game against Texas Tech.

Other sports

USF SOCCER: The Bulls earned the outright Big East Red Division title with a 0-0 tie against Rutgers in Newark, N.J. USF (12-2-3, 7-0-2) went undefeated in Big East regular-season play for the first time and became the third Big East team in 15 years to accomplish the feat.

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor is the only senior on the Associated Press preseason All-America team. He is joined by four sophomores: Ohio State center Jared Sullinger, a unanimous pick of the 65-member national media panel; North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes; Kentucky forward Terrence Jones, and Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb. … George Mason junior forward Johnny Williams will sit out the season while he recovers from shoulder surgery.

WOMEN'S basketball: Illinois Wesleyan coach Mia Smith, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June and has lost her hair to chemotherapy, said she plans to coach through her 14th season.

West Virginia University files suit, seeking an immediate divorce from the Big East 10/31/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 12:40pm]

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