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WVU tries to keep suit alive

West Virginia University asked a judge Friday to keep its lawsuit against the Big East alive, calling the conference's motion to dismiss the case in Morgantown a "poorly veiled" effort to escape the proper jurisdiction and pick its own.

WVU sued the Big East in Monongalia County Circuit Court last month, challenging the conference's bylaws in a bid to depart the Big East and join the Big 12 in time for the 2012 football season. The Big East countersued in Rhode Island four days later.

This week, lawyers for the Big East asked Judge Russell Clawges to dismiss the case, saying WVU has no legal foundation to challenge the rules it helped draft and agreed to. It wants WVU to remain in the Big East, as the league's bylaws stipulate, for 27 months. The Big East contends that if Clawges doesn't dismiss the case, he should put it on hold while the other lawsuit plays out.

In response to that motion, WVU argued that the Big East's claims mirror its own: breach of contract and fiduciary responsibility.

"The Big East's message is clear: It is not that WVU failed to state a viable cause of action, it is that justice is just a little bit better served in the Superior Court of the state of Rhode Island," the school said. "The Big East's motion should be denied for what it is -- a poorly veiled attempt to escape this court's proper jurisdiction."

Illinois picks Toledo coach

Toledo's Tim Beckman is the new coach at Illinois.

He replaces Ron Zook, who was fired after seven seasons. Illinois started the season 6-0 but carries a six-game losing streak into the Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against UCLA.

Beckman comes to Illinois after three seasons at Toledo, where he was 21-16. His contract is for five seasons and about $9 million.

Weis relishes opportunity at Kansas

Former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis was introduced as Kansas' coach yesterday, saying it was "too good of an opportunity" to pass up.

"(It's a chance) to go into a place that was down low and being able to see it through the rise back up top," Florida's former offensive coordinator said. "This is what I do."

Terms of Weis' contract have not been finalized, but athletic director Sheahon Zenger said it would be a five-year deal that pays about $2.5 million annually -- almost all of which is guaranteed.

Around the nation

Ohio State asked for and received NCAA approval to exceed the limit of coaches on staff through the Buckeyes' bowl game. The existing staff, under Luke Fickell, will prepare the Buckeyes on the field in the days leading up to the Gator Bowl against Florida on Jan. 2. Then there is incoming coach Urban Meyer, who will handle only recruiting while hiring his assistants. ... Oregon State defensive tackle Fred Thompson, who collapsed and died during a pickup basketball game Wednesday, had an enlarged heart. ... North Carolina's trustees approved a seven-year contract worth more than $1.7 million annually for former Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. ... Washington coach Steve Sarkisian refuted a report that he had been contacted by UCLA for the Bruins' coaching position.

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