Clemson files lawsuit to depart from the ACC

Clemson files lawsuit to depart from the ACC

Clemson has filed a lawsuit against the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in a South Carolina court, challenging the league’s right to charge schools substantial amounts of money to leave. The complaint filed in Pickens County claims that the ACC’s $140 million exit penalty and the grant of rights used to bind schools to the conference through their media rights should be struck down by the court. Clemson argues that these provisions hinder its ability to explore other conference membership options, negotiate alternative revenue-sharing proposals among ACC members, and obtain full value for its future media rights.

In December of 2023, Florida State University’s board of trustees also sued the ACC in Florida, raising similar claims about the conference’s exit penalties and media rights agreements. The ACC responded by filing a lawsuit against Florida State in North Carolina, where the conference offices are located, alleging that the school’s actions were a breach of contract. The first hearing in the North Carolina case is scheduled for Friday, March 22.

Both Clemson and Florida State’s lawsuits challenge the ACC’s authority to impose hefty exit penalties on schools seeking to leave the conference. These legal proceedings highlight the tension between schools and conferences over media rights and revenue-sharing agreements, as well as the complexities of changing conference affiliations. It remains to be seen how these legal battles will unfold and what implications they may have for the future of college athletics.

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