The Big East has had a rough couple weeks. After losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, TCU decided to jump ship before even joining the conference. Teams are fleeing the Big East like a sinking ship, and if more teams haven’t left already, I’m certain it’s not due to lack of effort on their parts.
According to Greg Auman from the St. Petersburg Times, though, the Big East recently tried to raise their exit fee in order to discourage other members from leaving:
According to an e-mail from commissioner John Marinatto to school presidents released to the Times on Wednesday as part of a public records request, the agenda for the Oct. 2 meeting in Washington, D.C., asked for schools to consider raising the exit fee to the greater of $5 million or “150 percent of gross revenues (from the conference) during the final fiscal year in which the withdrawing member is a member of the conference.” Football members are believed to get between $8 million and $10 million from the Big East, which would put the proposed exit fee at between $12 million and $15 million.
The motion didn’t pass, so the exit fee remains a relatively paltry $5 million; compare that to Conference USA, which has a $7 million exit fee. Considering the Big East is hoping to poach multiple teams from C-USA in order to refill their league, it has to be somewhat alarming to them that it’s easier to leave the Big East than it is to leave C-USA.
Then again, why would Big East schools want to increase the exit fee now of all times? Multiple teams have already left, and the few that are left likely will want to keep their options open in case they are given the chance to flee. The time for increasing the exit fee was before all this mess began, but commissioner John Marinatto didn’t act quick enough.