Syracuse gets deal for early way out from Big East

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Syracuse and the Big East Conference announced Monday that they have agreed on terms for Syracuse's departure from the league, but Pitt's future remains up in the air.

Syracuse will pay the Big East $7.5 million to exit the conference July 1, 2013. Both schools informed the Big East in the fall that they were leaving and joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Big East has a $5 million exit fee and 27-month waiting period for changing conference affiliation, but the conference said in the spring that it was open to the possibility of allowing Pitt and Syracuse to exit next summer. Pitt, which already paid half of the exit fee, filed a lawsuit against the Big East in May for allowing West Virginia and TCU to withdraw early from the conference.

Pitt did not comment on the agreement between Syracuse and the Big East, but its negotiations with the league could speed up now that Syracuse has set the bar with its additional $2.5 million payment to the conference. A university source said Monday that negotiations between the two parties are ongoing despite the lawsuit.

Big East interim commissioner Joe Bailey said in a statement: "This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for the Big East's future. With the recent addition of eight schools to the Big East, the future for the conference has never been brighter."

The Big East recently added Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple in all sports. Boise State, San Diego State and Navy are set to join in football, with the Midshipmen in line to join in 2015. All others are set to join for the 2013-14 season.

Earlier this summer, Pitt's relationship with the Big East deteriorated further when the Panthers were left out of the Big East/SEC basketball challenge, which is broadcast by ESPN. The Panthers contended they were promised a home game in the event in return for agreeing to play at Tennessee last season. The Big East's decision left a hole on Pitt's home schedule.

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Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.


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