Tech withdraws from lawsuit against ACC

By DONNA TOMMELLEO
The Associated Press
6/25/03 6:51 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Having been invited to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, Virginia Tech withdrew Wednesday from the Big East's lawsuit against the ACC, Miami and Boston College, but the litigation will move forward.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said a preliminary hearing before a state judge will proceed as scheduled Thursday to determine venue and scheduling.

The decision to invite Virginia Tech to the ACC instead of Boston College and Syracuse will change the legal lineup.

Blumenthal would not comment on Virginia Tech's departure from the lawsuit or Boston College's status as a defendant.

"Obviously, the situation is very fluid in alignments and alliances of different schools," Blumenthal said. "And the question of which institutions will ultimately side with which conferences remains unsettled."

Virginia Tech had initially joined Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and West Virginia in a June 6 lawsuit that accused the ACC, Boston College and Miami of taking part in a conspiracy to expand and ultimately weaken the Big East.

The lawsuit contends the five schools have spent millions on their football programs based on presumed loyalty from the other schools.

Less than 24 hours after learning that the ACC was pursuing only Virginia Tech and Miami, Tech's governing board unanimously authorized president Charles M. Steger to negotiate with the ACC.

The school filed papers in Connecticut removing it from the lawsuit against the ACC late Wednesday afternoon, said Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore.

Kilgore said the lawsuit slowed down the process long enough to give ACC officials more time to evaluate Virginia Tech. On Wednesday, conference officials visited the Blacksburg school, and extended an invitation.

"The reason Tech wanted to sue from the beginning was to remain in a strong and viable conference," Kilgore said. "Virginia Tech has long wanted to be part of the Atlantic Coast Conference. And that's becoming a reality now."


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