ACC Files Suit; Not Giving Up Maryland Without A Fight

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s departure from the ACC just got a lot messier.

As Derek Valcourt explains, the Atlantic Coast Conference filed suit against the Terps to make sure the school pays a $50 million exit penalty.

With this lawsuit, the ACC shows it will not give up Maryland without a fight.

$52,266,342. That’s the fee the ACC says the University of Maryland owes for its decision to withdraw from the Atlantic Coast Conference in favor of the Big Ten. The announcement came at a news conference last week, during which University President Dr. Wallace Loh suggested Maryland might not pay the entire exit fee.

“Now in so far as the exact amount of that sum. That is something that we will discuss in private with the ACC,” Loh said.

Now the ACC claims in this lawsuit Maryland needs to pay up the full $52 million.

“It is so much higher than what any other college or university has been asked to pay when leaving a conference that it’s almost unconscionable,” said attorney Steve Silverman.

Silverman and his firm specialize in sports law. He points to past exit fees–for example, Colorado and Nebraska each paid out more than $9 million to leave the Big 12. Syracuse and Pittsburgh each paid $7.5 million to leave the Big East early.

The highest exit fee so far was paid by West Virginia, which forked out $20 million to leave the Big East early. In the end, Silverman says it may all come down to how the ACC came up with its $52 million figure.

“If they said let’s make the exit fee so high that no one’s going to want to leave, then Maryland’s going to win. Or if they came up with a calculation and said each member, if it were to leave, it’s going to cost the ACC about $52 million, then the ACC is going to win,” Silverman said.

For its part the University of Maryland has declined to comment on the ACC lawsuit.

Back in September, Maryland and Florida State were the only schools in the ACC to vote against raising the exit penalty from $21 million to $52 million.

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