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Court Won’t Dismiss The ACC’s Lawsuit Against Maryland

gavelThe ACC scored an expected win yesterday when a North Carolina judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the league against the University of Maryland.  The school had argued that that a court in the Tarheel State — which happens to be the home state of the ACC’s league office — held no jurisdiction over a school in the state of Maryland, meaning the league’s $52 million lawsuit/exit fee should be tossed.

Yesterday’s ruling simply sets the stage for another court case.  Planning an escape to the Big Ten, the University of Maryland has no intention of paying the $52 million exit fee the ACC agreed upon last year.  A spokesman for Terrapins’ lawyer Douglas Gansler said last night that “the state is going to be considering its options in light of this ruling.”

Gansler had stated when filing his motion to dismiss that the ACC’s enormous exit fee was “an antitrust violation and an illegal penalty.”  He had also said that his motion “in North Carolina will insure that a Maryland court will rule on the case.”


Multiple sources have told that Virginia and Georgia Tech have had conversations with the Big Ten, but all parties involved are waiting to see the outcome of the ACC/Maryland battle before deciding to wed.  There have been other reports that the Big Ten has had contact with North Carolina and Duke as well.

Jim Delany’s league and any ACC schools on its wish list could announce plans to wed before Maryland’s case is settled, but at this point that seems unlikely.  So this not-so-unexpected delay in the courts might slow down — for a bit — the inevitable expansion/realignment shuffle to come.

To date, conference exit fees have been negotiated down as schools have found legal loopholes.  But keep in mind, they’ve been negotiated down.  They’ve not been thrown out altogether.  Schools have found enough reason for leagues to believe they could lose a court battle… so rather than risk a court defeat, force schools that want out to stick around, and slow their own re-growth plans, conferences have been willing to negotiate lower settlements.  But the ACC’s exit clause might be more ironclad than other leagues’ contracts.  Again, the exit clause was re-worked last year after the ACC saw school after school talk their own settlements’ down with other conferences.  It’s possible the ACC learned something by watching those other leagues buckle.

Also, seeing as most believe Maryland’s departure could be the first domino to fall in a potential ACC collapse, John Swofford’s league might be more willing to fight this thing in court than other conferences would be.

The irony is that representatives from ACC schools are talking to other conferences about exiting at the exact same time those schools are trying to prevent Maryland from exiting.


(CORRECTION — The original headlines said the “NCAA” won’t dismiss the ACC’s lawsuit.  Total bungle on my part.  Had just been reading up on the NCAA/Miami case and my brain did its typical early morning flub thing.  Apologies.)



I still think the SEC's main interests are Virginia Tech and North Carolina State. Everyone of these expansion articles you read the last few months has the B1G only interested in the AAU schools. I guess you must accept that as fact?                                                                                                                  


I hope the SEC does not go beyond 16 schools. I feel one of those larger conferences are going to be condemned from birth. To be broken up by not enough rivalry and too many different interests that can not possibly be properly addressed. Simply too many hogs at the trough.


I've read the comments about expansion on here, but let me ask this:


Are there any NON-ACC schools the SEC also wants that we can go ahead & grab?  Or does the ACC seem to be the "Golden Ticket" & everybody else is on delay?


OK -- let's assume the Big Ten takes in Georgia Tech, Virginia and North Carolina. Who gets to be #18?


Delany and athletic directors would probably prefer Florida State.


But the presidents have final say, and they'd almost certainly prefer Duke.

Franklin DR
Franklin DR

Non-story.  Typical and his "guy who sells baseball gloves" causing a fuss over nothing.


If it wasn't for Big Bang "articles" nobody would come to this clown site.  Literally nothing else he writes on ever clears 20 comments.


@frankthetank111 @MrSEC I hate the idea, tOSU would likely wind up in "ACC" div, play Va, Md, Rut, PSU, GIT, UNC, Duke not Mi, MSU, WI etc


@bcinterruption Can't there be a limit on how many teams the Big 10 can have until they change their name?!?


@frankthetank111 @MrSEC And that was only for an increase from 2 to 5 million.


@frankthetank111 @MrSEC The ruling was based on the fact that the BE increased their exit fee for the sole purpose of restricting movement.


@frankthetank111 @MrSEC The only people who don't know this reside in the ACC.


John is right - not a surprising ruling, but one that is frustrating for those of us who want the Big Bang to happen sooner rather than later.  This was a necessary first step.  It's the same ruling that a Rhode Island court made with regards to the West Virginia/Big East lawsuit.  Therefore, it had to be expected.


This is going to take some time.  The future of the ACC could well depend on it.  Is Swofford ready to go all-in?  Probably, in my estimation.  What choice does he have?


@MrSEC That leaves UNC and Va Tech for the SEC/ Slive targets. #SEC


@MrSEC @theDudeofWV I really think Gtech should come to Big 12 with FSU, Clemson, and three other friends.


 @WarHog38 In the past, I would have agreed with 100% of this.  The very thought of 18 and 20 team conferences scared the heck out of me.  Look at what happened to the old 16 team WAC, for example.


Now I think differently because the nature of collegiate athletic conferences has evolved so rapidly since the NCAA/Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling.  That started the process, and technology expedited it.


Conference networks, so long as they prove to be as successful as the BTN, will keep the schools together.  They simply won't be able to afford to leave.


 @vp81955 Florida State sure seems to be getting the most chatter.  Personally, I think that would be a high risk move.  Any conference that is expanding should do so with the long term in mind.  Would FSU be happy in the Big Ten a few years from now?  Would it move to SEC in about five seconds if it were to get an invitation?  I think the answers are "maybe" and "yes", respectively.  That's high-risk.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Franklin DR 


Bitter much?  What in the world in this blurb -- a story that was covered by every major sports outlet in the country, by the way -- was so upsetting to you?


And your dismissal of a major athletic supplier's representative who deals weekly and one-on-one with multiple ACC and SEC coaches only shows you're as dim-witted as you are ill-tempered.


As for the comments, again, you're not exactly working your way into Harvard with your logic.  Each Saturday morning we post our five most-read stories of the week.  Do a little cross-checking and you'll see that comments have very little to do with readership.  The only stories we write that tend to draw waves of comments are a) those that are somehow critical of a school (and fans of that school call us jerks on messageboards and then flock here to rip us) or b) those dealing with expansion (because that stuff always turns INTO a messageboard with everyone posting their favorite plans and ideas for expansion/realignment).


I can assure you that advertisers don't ask for statistics on comments because the same five people can argue back and forth and drive up the numbers into the hundreds.


But since you clearly have no use for this site, maybe it's best if you don't read it.  That or maybe you should try a little less coffee.


Have a wonderful evening,



 @Franklin DR For what it's worth, this isn't the only site for discussion like this.  Do you think conference realignment is over?  That seems to be what you're saying.


@sg2waugh It's not possible that tOSU wouldn't play UM every year.


@KeganSTG that's why they've conveniently tweaked their branding to B1G.


@theDudeofWV @frankthetank111 @MrSEC or in Louisville


 @Roggespierre If the SEC goes past 16?   I hope you are right! I just remember the close rivalries and all the yearly games with all or most all the conference opponents. I hate to see a lot of that go.


 @John at MrSEC  @Franklin DR I wouldn't worry about it too much, John.  People get emotional about this stuff, particularly when it's their favorite conference that appears to be a likely loser.  It's one thing to be an SEC or B1G fan.  It's fun to know that your conference is strong enough to pick off institutions from conferences that were rivals.  It's another thing entirely when you're the one that's having your skirt pulled up.


@bcinterruption And I thought the ACC was safe. Thank goodness that judge struck down the Terp lawsuit or else we might turn into Big East


@JHB4UK @frankthetank111 @MrSEC I understand why UL people don't want to accept the truth.


 @WarHog38 No doubt.  I'll admit that I miss the old Big Ten.  It stinks that Purdue is likely to be put in the Western division, where it will not see Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State more than once every three years or so.  Nebraska is good, but it isn't the same.  I guess I'll get used to it.


If I were a lifelong SEC fan, then I would feel the same way about that conference.  But I tend to be a "big game" fan of the SEC.  So long as I get to see the Iron Bowl, Third Saturday in October, the game formerly known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, and even the Egg Bowl, then I'm happy.


@theDudeofWV @JHB4UK @frankthetank111 @MrSEC Anyone can spread rumors, ask the Dude (FSU to Big 12 anyone?) I'll wait for the facts!


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  2. [...] Dean Smith disciple Jim Delany and that Virginia and Georgia Tech are in the mix.  Meanwhile, Mr. SEC has his own post about how UVA and Georgia Tech have spoken with the Big Ten, but there won’t be any moves until there’s clarity in the ongoing Maryland/ACC [...]

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