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Rutgers elects to sue the Big East over exit fee

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- Rutgers University is suing the Big East Conference, trying to avoid paying an exit fee.

Rutgers is trying to avoid a $10 million hit for leaving en route to the Big Ten. Big East bylaws state a school must give 27 months' notice and pay a $10 million withdrawal fee.

The suit says the Big East selectively enforced the rules. Rutgers claims some schools did and some did not have to give notice or pay the fee on their way out of the embattled conference. The Big East allowed Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and TCU to leave the league before the 27-month period had run its course.

The conference voted to increase its exit fee from $5 million to $10 million last month. Rutgers did not vote on the motion, but voiced opposition.

Rutgers has also asked the Big East for the $1.3 million it said it lost when a football game was canceled due to TCU's withdrawal. The Horned Frogs were headed to the Big East, but skipped out and landed in the Big 12 before ever playing a game. West Virginia also joined the Big 12, while Pitt and Syracuse will become members of the ACC next season.

Rutgers is coming off a 9-3 season in which it went 5-2 in the Big East. The Scarlet Knights lost to Louisville, 20-17, last Thursday in a game that decided the conference's BCS bid. Rutgers will play Virginia Tech (6-6) on Dec. 28 in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

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