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Rutgers sues Big East, alleging a breach of contract over $10 million exit fee

Dec 6, 2012, 11:17 AM EDT

Rutgers Announces Move to Big Ten Conference Getty Images

Conference realignment has birthed another lawsuit, as Rutgers is suing the Big East as reported by the Newark Star-Ledger.

But the goal isn’t simply to be able to leave the conference for the Big Ten before the end of the 27-month notice required by the conference, but to also recoup money the school says it is owed by the conference.

The departures of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia resulted in some $39 million in fees for the Big East, and Rutgers claims in the suit that it has yet to receive its share. There’s also the $1.3 million the school claims it lost as a result of having to cancel a home game against TCU (football).

For this reason the legal representation of the school believes that Rutgers should not have to wait the 27 months or pay the $10 million exit fee.

“The Big East has elected not to enforce the bylaws, including the 27 months notice provision and payment of withdrawal fees, consistently and uniformly to the detriment of the remaining members of the Big East,” the lawsuit said.

According to court documents Rutgers filed the suit some 20 minutes before the press conference announcing their move to the Big Ten.

If anything this is simply the first step towards negotiating an exit fee and the Scarlet Knights’ departure from the Big East. Maryland, during their press conference announcing a move to the Big Ten, stated that they would be joining the conference on July 1, 2014 but no such date was given by Rutgers.

Obviously the transition for the schools and the Big Ten would be smoother with both schools joining the conference at the same time. Rutgers filing a lawsuit against the Big East is simply a step towards making sure that happens.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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