Settlement Details Revealed

Editor
Posted Feb 15, 2012


Not even 24 hours after both parties announced a settlement had been reached, West Virginia University revealed the terms of the deal that ended its litigation against the Big East Conference in both West Virginia and Rhode Island courts.

BlueGoldNews.com received the 25-page settlement document on Wednesday as the result of a Freedom of Information request, filed Tuesday. The document details the terms of the agreement both sides came to on Feb. 13 and publicly announced Feb. 14.

As previously reported by multiple outlets, including CBSSports.com and the Charleston Daily Mail , the total value of the settlement is $20 million.

The amount is broken down in multiple pieces. The $2.5 million payment WVU sent to the Big East in late October, when it first notified the league of its intent to leave, is the first portion. The second is to come in the form of a lump payment of $8.5 million, due to the Big East by Feb. 17.

Further, WVU agreed to forfeit all of its 2011-12 conference revenue distributions up to a "Forecasted Amount" which is later defined in the settlement document as $9 million. If WVU's 2011-12 Big East revenue it would have been due to receive by June 30 is in excess of $9 million, the Big East will pay the difference to the university.

Both parties agreed payments on WVU's behalf could be distributed by a third party -- perhaps the Big 12, which reportedly will pay $10 million of the settlement cost, half of which WVU will ultimately repay to its new conference.

The private WVU Foundation may also be considered a third party. Per an exhibit attached to the settlement documents, the Foundation created a special "Big 12 Transition Fund" for the purposes of the settlement. The Foundation will deposit $10 million into the fund and pay the Big East the $8.5 million lump sum "at the direction of the University."

As per the settlement, WVU agreed it will not be entitled to any revenue distributions from the league after its exit on June 30 -- even if those distributions are "based on matters that occurred" prior to that date.

This includes "any NCAA Tournament credits" and "any portions of the withdrawal fees paid or to be paid by any school that has submitted a Withdrawal Notice" (Syracuse and Pittsburgh).

The document stipulates that the only revenue distribution West Virginia officials can apply to the financial portion of the settlement are WVU's "distributions and reimbursements for the 2011-12 seasons."

Further, WVU agreed to "use its reasonable best efforts to help the Big East members to schedule additional football games for the 2012-13 season." WVU is specifically asked to assist Pitt and Syracuse in scheduling a game against a Big 12 member for the 2012-13 season "if possible."

The Big East's resolution to terminate West Virginia's membership in the league is attached as an exhibit, and it indicates "West Virginia University and the Big 12 Conference have pledged, upon request, to use their reasonable best efforts to help [Big East] Conference Members schedule additional football games for the 2012-13 season." The actual settlement document indicates WVU is not required to take any such steps "if another school announces it is joining the Big East for football for the 2012-13 season."

The settlement included a "no disparagement" agreement between the two sides barring each from "any communication, oral or written, which would cause the recipient to question the business condition, integrity, competence or good character" of either side.

Notably, though the sides each filed complaints in West Virginia and Rhode Island courts, the settlement is considered a contract made and written in the District of Columbia.

The settlement was signed by Big East commissioner John Marinatto and WVU vice president for finance and administration Narvel Weese. It came a day after both sides entered into a formal "Standstill Agreement" to stop all proceedings in the legal cases in both West Virginia and Rhode Island courts while the settlement was finalized.

Document: WVU-Big East Settlement


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 -by BlueGoldNews.com  Feb 14, 2012
Big East: WVU 'Terminated'
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