On November 4, 2011, the Big East Conference (“Big East”) filed suit against West Virginia University (“WVU”), which follows the suit filed five days prior by WVU. The Big East argues that WVU was a party to and entered into three contracts relating to televising Big East football and men’s and women’s basketball contests. Each of these contracts runs through the 2013 seasons. As a result of the defection of WVU, the Big East argues that such action would cause great harm to the Big East and its member institutions and could potentially violate the terms of these agreements. Additionally, the Big East notes that WVU’s desire to compete in the Big 12 Conference on or about July 1, 2012 violates Article 11 of the Big East Amended and Restated Bylaws (“Bylaws”), which call for a twenty-seven month withdrawal period. As a result of the alleged breaches, the Big East claims that the member institutions of the Big East have been irreparably harmed because it will be “impossible to reschedule all of the Conference athletic contests in a fair and equitable manner….[and] will likely incur additionally costs and unquantifiable injuries.” Therefore, the Big East seeks monetary damages (including court costs and attorneys’ fees) for the purported breach of Article 11 of the Bylaws and injunctive relief seeking to obligate WVU “to participate fully in all scheduled Conference athletic events during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons (i.e., through and including June 30, 2014).”
According to Section 11.02(b) of the Bylaws, “if a Member attempts or purports to withdraw from the Conference without comply with Section 11.02 (withdrawal procedures), the Conference shall be entitled to seek and obtain equitable relief.” Thus, the parties to the Bylaws have agreed that there is no adequate remedy at law and irreparable harm would be caused by failing to comply with the withdrawal provisions, which gives rise to injunctive relief.
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