SBD/July 17, 2012/Colleges

Syracuse Negotiates Early Exit From Big East, Set To Join ACC In July '13

Syracuse's $7.5M exit fee is $2.5M more than the $5M fee stipulated in Big East bylaws
Syracuse Univ. will pay the Big East Conference $7.5M "to leave a year early," enabling the school to join the ACC in July '13, according to Mike Waters of the Syracuse POST-STANDARD. Last September, SU and the Univ. of Pittsburgh announced their intentions to join the ACC. Big East bylaws "require a 27-month notice, which would have kept Syracuse in the Big East through the 2013-14 season." SU’s $7.5M fee is $2.5M more than the $5M exit fee "stipulated in the conference’s bylaws." However, the school "expects to make as much as $9 million more annually as a member of the ACC, thanks to the conference’s richer television contracts." Pitt "is not included" in Syracuse’s agreement with the Big East. In May, Pitt officials "filed a lawsuit against the conference, seeking to void the 27-month waiting period." Pitt officials noted that the Big East "had recently negotiated an early release for West Virginia, which had left for the Big 12" (Syracuse POST-STANDARD, 7/17). A Big East official said that SU "facilitated its early release by not resulting to lawsuits." The official said, "Syracuse kept the channels of communication open. One (school) has a lawsuit and one (school) doesn't. You can't deal with it at the same time." The POST-STANDARD's Waters notes SU's deal with the Big East "would seem to set some parameters for Pittsburgh to negotiate its release from the conference." Syracuse AD Daryl Gross "praised Big East interim commissioner Joe Bailey and senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli for their efforts in the negotiations." Gross: "We were able to collegially work out some things that we thought benefited both sides. Both sides thought the deal was truly reasonable. It was done in a most collegial way" (Syracuse POST-STANDARD, 7/17).

SETTING THE BAR: In Pittsburgh, Ray Fittipaldo writes Pitt's negotiations with the Big East "could speed up now that Syracuse has set the bar" with its additional $2.5M payment to the conference. A university source said that negotiations between the two parties "are ongoing despite the lawsuit" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/17).
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