WVU owes $8M Friday to Big East

Published 3:13 am Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Associated Press


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia University must cut an $8.5 million check by Friday to end officially end its legal dispute over leaving the Big East Conference.

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The Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/wYCyBJ) obtained a copy of the separation agreement and posted it online Wednesday. The agreement outlines a total settlement of about $20 million, a figure previously reported by many media outlets.

In exchange, WVU can join the Big 12 in July — in time for the fall football season — rather than wait two years as the Big East bylaws required.

WVU announced on Tuesday that it had struck a deal to settle competing lawsuits with the Big East, but Athletic Director Oliver Luck said the terms were confidential. The newspaper obtained the details under a Freedom of Information Act request.

WVU has already paid the Big East $2.5 million, which is half of the $5 million exit fee required in the bylaws.

The agreement says the next payment is due Friday and will come from a $10 million Big 12 Transition Fund established by the WVU Foundation, the university’s private fund-raising arm.

A related settlement document says half of that $10 million will be forgiven, and WVU will repay the other half over time and with interest.

At the end of the fiscal year on June 30, WVU also must forfeit a projected $9 million in Big East revenue sharing, and make up for any shortfall that may occur.

Although WVU is shelling out money now, its new relationship with the Big 12 promises to be far more lucrative than its Big East membership. Luck said WVU should get about $18 million to $19 million a year in television payouts, about $10 million a year more than what it now gets from the Big East.

Payments are being prorated for the first three years at 50 percent, 67 percent and 87 percent, he said, reaching 100 percent in the fourth year.

West Virginia makes its Big 12 debut Sept. 29 at home against Baylor.