ACC Still Fighting For Maryland's Exit Fee As Lawsuits Await Appeals Ruling
The ACC "continues to push ahead with its legal fight" to collect a disputed $52M exit fee from the Univ. of Maryland as the school departs for the Big Ten, and the contest is "being watched with great anticipation by major colleges and universities thinking about conference shopping and hopping," according to Anne Blythe of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. A ruling against Maryland when the case goes before the N.C. Court of Appeals on Sept. 26 "could be seen as a major toll on the increasingly common practice of conference hopping, slowing or ending a new trend." The first issue for the courts will be to decide on "whose turf will the feud be heard," as lawsuits have been filed in North Carolina and Maryland. Attorneys for the ACC contend North Carolina, the "birthplace of the 60-year-old conference, is the proper place for sorting out what they describe as a 'contract dispute.'" Maryland's Board of Regents has "asked for the case to be dismissed in North Carolina with hopes that a home crowd in the Maryland courts will settle the spat." A Maryland judge "put the lawsuit there on hold earlier this summer until the North Carolina courts rule on the proper venue." But it "could be weeks or months before a ruling is issued and the more substantive issues fully addressed." Since Maryland President Wallace Loh announced the school's plans not to pay the fee, the ACC has been withholding "normal disbursements to the school" totaling more than $10M (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/15).