Five Big East schools file lawsuit against UM

The University of Miami's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference might be deemed official as early as Monday when the Hurricanes are expected to accept a formal invitation. But apparently a handful of Big East schools aren't going to let UM depart without a fight - in court.

Five Big East schools filed a lawsuit against Miami and Boston College in an effort to prevent both schools from jumping to the ACC. The lawsuit accuses both of the schools of secretly taking part in the ACC's expansion plans and in turn potentially damaging the future of the Big East.

The lawsuit filed in state superior court in Hartford, Conn., claims that Miami and Boston College showed loyalty to their conference but at the same time prepared a "deliberate scheme to destroy the Big East and abscond with the collective value of all that has been invested and created in the Big East". The lawsuit also states that the Big East went forward with monetary renovations and other improvements in the conference with the understanding that the league would remain intact.

The five Big East schools are suing for financial damages and are hoping for an injunction to prevent UM and BC from leaving.

Miami athletic director Paul Dee, who said at a brief press conference Friday afternoon that he had not seen a copy of the lawsuit, acknowledged that UM is ready for any litigation brought forward by the Big East.

"I haven't seen it (the lawsuit). But we're aware of the allegations and prepared to present the school's side of it," Dee said. "The university will take appropriate action to protect its interest."

The lawsuit was filed by football Big East members Pittsburgh, Connecticut, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Rutgers, all schools that are not planning a move elsewhere. Ironically, Syracuse, expected to join Miami and Boston College in the ACC if the Hurricanes decide to leave the Big East, because there was not enough evidence to conclude that SU promised to stay in the Big East.

The lawsuit accuses Miami and Boston College of reassuring their commitment to the Big East, adding that Miami president Donna Shalala went on record on March saying that the Hurricanes "had no interest in leaving for any other conference."

ACC commissioner John Swofford released a statement expressing disappoinment. Swofford said that ACC lawyers are reviewing the lawsuit.

Despite numerous published reports stating that Miami is likely to join the ACC, Dee said the school has not made a decision on the matter.

"The school has not made a decision because the school has not been formally invited," he said.

Canes Time Top Stories