Rutgers to pay $11.5M exit fee

Rutgers will pay an $11.5 million exit fee to leave the American Athletic Conference, the school and league announced Wednesday.

The Scarlet Knights and the AAC reached an agreement allowing Rutgers to leave the league and join the Big Ten Conference, as planned, on July 1.

The AAC sought $15 million from Rutgers, but the school was able to negotiate a lower amount because Louisville had done so a few months ago, sources told ESPN.

Louisville negotiated an $11 million exit fee because athletic director Tom Jurich informed then-Big East commissioner John Marinatto and South Florida president Judy Genshaft in October 2011 that the Cardinals would leave the league in 27 months, Marinatto told ESPN.

On Nov. 21, 2012, Rutgers submitted its notice of withdrawal to the former Big East Conference with plans to join the Big Ten on July 1, 2014. However, Rutgers didn't provide the required 27 months notice, as required by league by-laws.

Rutgers had filed a lawsuit against the Big East claiming it shouldn't have to pay its full exit fee that "arbitrarily applies to some, but not all, of the Big East [American] football schools, and the effect is to penalize certain members if they seek to withdraw."

With the agreement, Rutgers dropped the lawsuit.

While the 27-month notice is a requirement to leave the league, several schools left the former Big East earlier by negotiating a higher exit fee. West Virginia paid $21 million, instead of $5 million, to join the Big 12 two years early in 2012. Pittsburgh and Syracuse each paid $7.5 million, instead of $5 million, to join the ACC a year early in 2013.

Louisville paid $11 million to the American, instead of the $15 million the conference sought, to join the ACC next season.

With Rutgers and Louisville now officially on the way out after this season, the American will add East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa on July 1, 2014, for an 11-member league along with UConn, Cincinnati, UCF, Houston, Memphis, SMU, South Florida and Temple. In 2015, Navy will join the American as a football-only member.