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Big East Files Suit Against West Virginia After Mountaineers' Suit Against Conference

Earlier this week, West Virginia sued the Big East to get out of its contract with the conference and pave the way for future residency in the Big 12. Friday, the Big East volleyed back a lawsuit of its own against West Virginia, with the conference suing the Mountaineers for "breach of contract" in an attempt to force them to abide by conference restrictions before bolting.

The Big East is trying to enforce a new requirement that schools departing from the conference remain in it for 27 months after announcing their departure; West Virginia is trying to make a break for the Big 12 as soon as possible to facilitate play starting in 2012. The Mountaineers were part of the Big East effort to craft the 27-month waiting period after the surprising defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC earlier this fall.

But the Big East allowed TCU to escape its clutches after reportedly paying a $5 million exit fee. And the league may be able to get more from West Virginia. At this point, it seems likely that West Virginia will still ultimately head to the Big 12 — but only after a fair bit of ugly legal wrangling.

For more on the Mountaineers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket and Big East Coast Bias. And stay tuned to SB Nation's collection of comprehensive StoryStreams for more conference realignment news.