Conference Realignment: Big East Declines Exit Fee Hike, Considering Legal Action

In what may be seen as a last-ditch effort to salvage its longterm viability as a BCS conference, the Big East's chancellors and presidents decided against dramatically raising the exit fee at the league's Oct. 2 meeting, according to documents obtained by CBSSports.com. The proposal would have made leaving the conference considerably more expensive, raising the fee to an estimated $17 million to $20 million. The exit fee for the league is currently $5 million with 27 months of notice.

By deciding against the increased fee, many university leaders seem to be keeping the door open for their own departure from the league that has lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Shortly after the meeting, the league also learned that TCU would be joining the Big 12 instead of the Big East.

In an email to the university leaders, obtained by CBSSports.com, Big East commissioner John Marinatto made this pitch:

"The most important issue for us to focus on, however, is the future of the Conference and specifically how we can stabilize our situation in order to convey a level of comfort and security to any potential new members and provide them some assurances about their future with us."

For more on the travails of the Big East, be sure to check out Big East Coast Bias.

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