Big East Expansion: ESPN Can Renegotiate TV Deal If Any Schools Leave Conference

The outward reason that the Big East doesn't want the West Virginia Mountaineers (or the Syracuse Orange or Pittsburgh Panthers) to leave before the contracted 27-month waiting period is because they don't want to be stuck with a five-team football conference come 2012.

The much-more obvious reason that hasn't been talked about enough is the financial one. Namely, the clause in the conference's TV contract with ESPN that states the network can renegotiate reduction of rights fees.

In other words, if West Virginia walks after this year like they say they want to, the remaining Big East schools could see their TV money shrink before the current deal is even up. It would also send a serious damper into the 2014 renegotiation, which the Big East must already be dreading.

Meanwhile, just when you thought this whole situation couldn't get any more ridiculous, Dennis Dodd alerted everyone to the fact that the person who drafted the Big East's withdrawal provisions is the former West Virginia president and general counsel chief.

So, yes, West Virginia is suing to prove that the withdrawal bylaws that West Virginia wrote are unfair.

For more, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket and Big East Coast Bias. Stay tuned to SB Nation's conference realignment news section.

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