Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pederson: Pitt Seeking Quicker Exit from Big East Wants to Leave for '12 Season, but School Isn't Willing to Pay More Than $5M Exit Fee

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pederson: Pitt Seeking Quicker Exit from Big East Wants to Leave for '12 Season, but School Isn't Willing to Pay More Than $5M Exit Fee

Article excerpt

West Virginia has, according to reports, reached a settlement with the Big East to get the conference's contractual 27-month waiting period waived, which paves the way for the school to join the Big 12 starting in the 2012 season.

That's welcome news to the University of Pittsburgh administration, as the school is hoping that West Virginia's early exit will pave the way for Pitt, which has joined the Atlantic Coast Conference, to get the 27-month waiting period waived as well.

But Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson made it clear that while the school is pushing to leave the Big East as soon as possible, it is not going to pay any more than the $5 million exit fee to make it happen.

"No," Pederson said emphatically when asked Wednesday if Pitt would be willing to increase the amount of money to be able to leave the conference in time for the 2012 season.

Pederson, who met with members of the media to discuss a wide variety of subjects, said the school will, once West Virginia's settlement is finalized, look to aggressively resolve the scheduling issues.

"Hopefully, we can resolve [Pitt leaving the Big East] in a way that is good for everyone," Pederson said.

He didn't rule out legal action to make it happen, however, but said he would hope the school and the conference could work something out, especially now that the Big East has rebuilt itself and is ready to move forward.

"Our hope that these things can always be resolved where everybody leaves and shakes hands and feels good about it," Pederson said. "This would probably be a good time for everybody to start solving the problems and making everything work. We're not going to close any doors because we don't know what the future holds.

"But I think the sooner everyone can get to where they are going, the better for everybody. Really, though, above everything else, we have to protect the interests of this institution."

Pederson said that Big East officials have never given Pitt a reason the conference benefits from holding Pitt and Syracuse to the 27-month waiting period now that it is clear both teams and the conference clearly want to move on. …

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