WVU, Big East ordered to mediation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A Rhode Island judge has ordered West Virginia University and the Big East to enter non-binding mediation in their competing lawsuits over WVU's plans to quit the conference and join the Big 12.

Providence County Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein signed an order Tuesday and scheduled a status conference for Feb. 9. He also ordered the Big East to file an answer to WVU filings by Jan. 18.

WVU sued the Big East in Monongalia County Circuit Court in Morgantown in November, challenging the conference bylaws in a bid to join the Big 12 before the 2012 football season.

The Big East countersued in Rhode Island four days later, arguing WVU should remain in the conference for 27 months.

Judges in both states have denied motions to dismiss the lawsuits.