Jul 19, 2012

Once the Big East allowed Syracuse to leave early, you knew it was only a matter of time before Pittsburgh followed suit.

Pittsburgh reached an agreement with the Big East conference yesterday, agreeing to pay the conference $7.5 million dollars in order to leave the Big East a year early. Pitt will be allowed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference next July 1st.

“We are anxious to compete in our final season in the Big East and look forward to an exciting future in the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said in a statement. (via ESPN)

Pitt had initially agreed to the Big East’s standard 27 month waiting period, which would have kept the school in the Big East conference until July 1, 2014. But, thoughts of a 2014 exit went by the way side when Pitt filed suit against the conference claiming that a right to enforce a 2014 withdrawal was waived after the conference let West Virginia forego the complete waiting period to leave for the Big 12 conference. Pitt’s suit led to more serious settlement talks, and ultimately led to the $7.5 million dollar settlement. In the end, the Big East just decided it was better to cut their losses and move on,

“This is another step for the Big East to take toward a very exciting future,” interim Big East commissioner Joe Bailey said in a statement. “With the addition of our eight new members, the Big East will be incredibly strong and vibrant.”

Continuing with the conference’s theme of moving on, they also dropped a $5 million dollar lawsuit against TCU. TCU had agreed in principle to join the conference, but backed-out of the deal once three of the conference’s most notable teams — Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Syracuse — declared they were leaving the Big East for other conferences.

When Pitt and Syracuse join the ACC in 2013, they will become the fourth and fifth teams to leave the Big East for that conference, joining Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College, who all joined the ACC in the early 2000’s.

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