Five Big East schools sued Miami, Boston College and the ACC on Friday, painting the ACC's expansion plans as a secret conspiracy that would ruin the programs left behind.
The defendants concocted a "deliberate scheme to destroy the Big East and abscond with the collective value of all that has been invested and created" in the conference, according to the lawsuit.
The schools - Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Connecticut - are the football programs that would remain if the other three leave. They seek financial damages and want an injunction to keep Miami and Boston College in the Big East.
Syracuse is part of the potential expansion but was not included in the lawsuit because plaintiffs said they found no evidence the school made promises to stay in the league.
The lawsuit was filed in state Superior Court in Hartford, Conn., not far from UConn, which has spent $90-million to upgrade facilities in anticipation of joining the Big East as a football member in 2005.
"We will not sit idly by on the sidelines as these teams leave the Big East," Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland said.
The lawsuit contends the five schools spent millions on their football programs based on the presumption they were members of a healthy conference. It alleges Miami, BC and the ACC were involved in secret expansion talks despite Miami's public commitments to stay in the Big East.
In the lawsuit, Miami president Donna Shalala is quoted on March6, 2002, reiterating Miami's commitment "in the strongest terms possible, emphatically stating that the University of Miami is in the Big East and has no interest in leaving it for any other conference."
Miami athletic director Paul Dee would not comment on the lawsuit but said the university would defend itself. "We believe that everything that we've done is appropriate," he said.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said conference lawyers were reviewing the lawsuit. "We're disappointed that these schools have chosen to take this action," he said.
Leaving the Big East is not illegal, and with a year's notice, the fine for dropping out is $1-million. But the lawsuit claims that by stripping three of the Big East's eight football teams, the remaining schools would lose millions in revenue from the lucrative Bowl Championship Series and from TV deals.
SOUTH CAROLINA 5, UNC 4: Freshman Michael Campbell had a two-run, winning single and assisted on a putout at home that saved the tying run for the host Gamecocks in their Super Region opener. Starter David Marchbanks (15-2) and reliever Chris Hernandez held the Tar Heels to four hits and zero runs the last seven innings. Landon Powell added a homer and three RBIs for the Gamecocks, who can make the College World Series for the second straight year with another victory in the best-of-3 series.
BAYLOR 4, LSU 1: Steven White handcuffed host LSU's big bats, scattering seven hits and striking out nine to give the visiting Bears a 1-0 series lead. Baylor, which has not played at home since May11, has won 17 of its past 21. LSU had won 12 of its past 15. Both teams got great pitching as White and LSU's Nate Bumstead cooled off the top hitting teams in the Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences. White (9-4) and Bumstead (11-3) kept it scoreless through five innings. The Bears got five of their 10 hits in the eighth, scoring three.
CAL ST. FULLERTON 5, ARIZ. ST. 1: Jason Windsor and Chad Cordero combined on a five-hitter to give the host Titans a 1-0 series lead. The Sun Devils entered leading Division I with a .352 batting average and 10.35 runs per game, but Windsor (10-2), a junior walk-on, scattered five hits, allowed one run, struck out five, walked one in seven innings.