Conference realignment can strain the relationships between schools and conferences, and a recent round in the mid-major ranks has led to a lawsuit.
Earlier this year, Valparaiso announced its departure from the Horizon League to join the Missouri Valley Conference. The Crusaders will replace Wichita State, which is leaving the MVC for the AAC.
The Horizon League has gone on to add IUPUI, but is not done with the issue yet. It has sued both Valparaiso and the Missouri Valley Conference, arguing that the school did not give one year’s notice on its intent to leave.
The lawsuit, filed on June 27 in Evansville, IN, claims that Valparaiso University breached its contract with the Horizon League when it failed to provide one-year notice of its intent to leave the conference, and thus that the university has incurred $500,000 in agreed upon liquidated damages. It further claims that the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), Valpo’s new home, induced (and tortuously interfered with) the school to breach that contract and move conferences.
It’s not the first lawsuit following a round of realignment. The ACC sued Maryland after it left for the Big Ten, a two year ordeal that resulted in a $31.3 million payment to the conference. Back in the early 2000s, Big East schools sued Boston College, Miami, and the ACC when it poached those two schools and Virginia Tech.