BOSTON -- The Big East can't impose a $5 million fine on
Boston College for defecting to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and
it can't force BC to remain in the conference for an extra 15
months, a Superior Court judge has ruled.
The decision passed down Wednesday keeps Boston College on
track to join the ACC next July and pay simply a $1 million withdrawal fee
to the Big East.
After Miami and Virginia Tech left the Big East for the ACC in
June 2003, the presidents of the remaining Big East schools sought
to deter further defections by raising the withdrawal fee from $1
million to $5 million and increasing the withdrawal notice from 12
to 27 months.
Boston College supported the amendment when it was proposed in
July 2003 but abstained from the Oct. 6, 2003, vote at which it
was approved. Six days later, BC accepted an invitation to become
the ACC's 12th member.
When the Big East sought to impose the new penalties on BC, the
school sued, saying the conference had improperly amended its
constitution. The judge agreed, saying the Big East flouted its own
rules when it created the harsher penalties.
"Whatever Boston College might have said about its state of
discussions or its expressed acceptance of a $5 million, 27-month
penalty, that did not impede the Big East's ability to correctly
amend its Constitution," Judge Allan van Gestel said in his
"We are gratified that, after nearly a year of adverse and
misleading public statements leveled against us, a respected judge
has seen through to the actual merits of the case and has ruled in
favor of Boston College," BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo said
in a statement.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said the conference was
"extremely disappointed" in the decision and was considering an