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Providence County Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein rejected all of the university's arguments for dismissal.
The school had argued the Rhode Island courts did not have the authority to decide the matter and should defer to the courts in West Virginia, where the first civil suit was filed in this dispute.
The university also claimed it can't be sued in Rhode Island because it has sovereign immunity as an agency of the state of West Virginia and was not properly notified by the Big East of its lawsuit.
Court spokesman Craig Berke said the timetable for future legal proceedings in Rhode Island has not been determined.
The Big East's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an order that West Virginia stay in the conference for 27 months.
West Virginia accepted an invitation from the Big 12 in October and hopes to join in time for the 2012 football season.
Since then the school and Big East have each sued the other and filed motions to dismiss the other's lawsuits. A West Virginia judge earlier this month refused to dismiss a university lawsuit against the Big East.
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