UM files lawsuit against Big East

In a shocking turn of legal events, the University of Miami has decided to fight the lawsuit filed against them this summer with a suit of their own.

On October 20, UM filed suit against the Big East Conference and the University of Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. The suit alleges breach of contract and a conspiracy to defraud on the part of the conference and the individual schools. UM also sued the University of Connecticut for defamation.

This suit comes after the same Big East schools took legal action against Miami for deciding to leave the Big East and join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004. The suit had accused UM of taking part in a conspiracy to destroy the Big East.

“We took this action very reluctantly, because we think litigation in this matter is neither productive nor desirable,” UM Athletic Director Paul Dee said. “However, the barrage of lawsuits emanating out of Big East member schools have forced us to take steps to protect our rights and reputation.”

Since the University of Miami gave its notice of intent to leave the Big East and paid the requisite $1 million exit fee, it has been subjected to lawsuits and verbal assaults, most notably by the Connecticut Attorney General.

“I am appalled at the behavior of the Big East and the Universities who are now defendants,” said Miami attorney Eric Isicoff, who, along with co-counsel Roberto Martinez and Aaron Podhurst, filed the lawsuit today on behalf of the University of Miami. “The actions and words, especially, of the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, and the University of Connecticut, are reprehensible.”

The first section of the text of the lawsuit says, “Miami brings this action against the Big East to enforce a written agreement governing the rights of the Big East conference members and to obtain a judgment declaring the rights and legal relations of Miami under that agreement with respects to its right to leave the conference.”

Isicoff said this is one of the most bizarre cases he’s ever seen.

“At the end of the day, this is all about one party living up to a legal and valid contract, and the other parties deciding, after the fact, that they didn’t like the contract,” he said.

The contract spelled out the proper way to leave the conference, and the amount of money it would cost. Yet, when UM followed the terms of the contract, it was sued. And if that weren’t bad enough, the Connecticut Attorney General has apparently decided this would be a good issue upon which to build a campaign for governor.

“It’s disappointing to see universities and an Attorney General behaving in such a manner,” Isicoff said.

-UM Sports Information Department provided facts in tis article.

October 28, 2003


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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