The Big East’s presidents and chancellors discussed but did not approve a proposal that would have increased the league’s exit fee to between about $12 million and $15 million, up to three times the current amount, during the league’s Oct. 2 meeting, according to league documents obtained by CBSSports.com.
Give commissioner John Marinatto credit; at least he tried to make it tougher for teams to leave the league.
The proposed new exit amount was for the greater amount of $5 million or “150 percent of the gross revenues received by a departing team in its final year in the league.” Those revenues vary by school but are estimated between $8 million and $10 million annually for the football members.
The league’s current withdrawal fee is $5 million, with 27 months notice required.
In the Oct. 2 meeting, the league’s presidents and chancellors also were scheduled to continue dialogue about “potential legal strategies in the wake of the departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.”
The refusal of the presidents and chancellors to increase the exit fee is another challenge to the league trying to survive the departure of TCU, Pittsburgh and Syracuse and with the possibility of other members leaving to other conferences.
Four days before the Oct. 2 meeting, Marinatto sent an email to league presidents and chancellors.
In the email, obtained by CBSSports.com, Marinatto wrote:
“The Big East’s media rights outlook remains optimistic as the Conference continues to be a vital and attractive media rights property heading into our scheduled September 2012 ESPN discussions. Further, we will provide you with an updated report on our BCS automatic qualifying status, arguably our single most valuable asset – which, with the help of the addition of TCU, continues to place us in a solid position for the upcoming cycle.”
Four days after the Oct. 2 meeting at Georgetown, TCU received an invitation to the Big 12 and notified the Big East it likely would accept the invitation. TCU officially was accepted into the Big 12 on Monday.
Marinatto’s email also touched on the league’s uncertain future. He wrote:
“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. Toward this end and per our football school discussion (Sept. 21) in New York City, we have added a new agenda item to discuss a proposed bylaw amendment in the form of the attached regarding our current withdrawal clause.”
It's unknown if the proposed new exit agreement also would require 27 months notice.
Marinatto’s email also to league leaders indicated that the Big East "will also be prepared to discuss potential legal strategies in the wake of the departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse."