One insider close to the negotiations suggested it was simply because Pitt and Syracuse were having a harder time than the other five finding replacements for WVU on their football schedules.
But there has to be more to it. First, refer to the aforementioned headline concerning Rutgers in the Newark Star-Ledger. Another from Tampa Bay Online read, "USF must fill date after WVU-Big East settlement."
In other words, all the remaining Big East schools seem to be scrambling. So why point to Pitt and Syracuse?
Answer: the league is apparently trying to cover its behind. Again.
Imagine that. The Big East being reactive instead of proactive.
The conference could not keep West Virginia from leaving. So it made sure a judgment was entered into the Monongalia County lawsuit dismissal saying the conference bylaws are valid and enforceable.
Then there was the "Additional Games" paragraph. The one that screams, "Hey, Pitt and Syracuse, see, we're trying to help you get games! Please don't leave before the 27-month withdrawal period by saying we're not a viable conference!"
It feeds into the criticism of the league that dates back to when Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College bolted for the ACC. Rather than be proactive, not much happens in Providence until the proverbial horse, cow or, in this case, Mountaineer leaves the barn.
Rather than strengthen the league before Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia announced their intentions to leave, commissioner John Marinatto allowed the conference's football side to be cannibalized.
Now, the Big East is the old Conference USA. It will have a bizarre mix with Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, Houston and Central Florida joining.
The kicker? The Big 12 could, if it wishes, further cannibalize the Big East. It could swipe Louisville or Cincinnati or Boise State.
And, if it chooses to do so, history shows the Big East will wait until after the fact to make a move.
It is reactive. The settlement once again illustrates that.
Which is why the proactive stance by WVU will pay dividends, despite whatever steep costs.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.