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Monday, July 22, 2024

Clemson’s High-Stakes Battle Over ACC Departure Fees Shakes College Sports

Clemson ACC Lawsuit

Have you heard of the recent Clemson ACC Lawsuit? Well, you see, Clemson is challenging the Atlantic Coast Conference’s grant of rights agreement and the steep departure cost that schools must pay to withdraw from the conference, which is at the heart of this lawsuit, you know? In case you’re not into legalese, let us explain this since it has a huge impact on college sports.

Background Of This Clemson ACC Lawsuit

Similar to a contract, the ACC’s grant of rights agreement empowers the conference to manage the media rights for sporting events hosted by its member institutions. And yes, having the colleges’ media money tied to the ACC is a major deal. Any school that wants to quit the Atlantic Coast Conference must also pay a hefty departure fee. This lawsuit is an important step in the decision-making process for Clemson and other colleges who are considering leaving the ACC for greater prospects, you know?

What Went Down And When

The lawsuit between Florida State University and the ACC, which was initiated in December 2023, was over the same grant of rights deal. Though, on March 19, 2024, Clemson became a party to the lawsuit that was filed in Pickens County, South Carolina. According to their arguments, the $140 million departure price is excessive and unjust, and the grant of rights shouldn’t be applicable if they withdraw from the ACC. The ACC responded the next day by filing a countersuit in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, regarding the validity of the rights grant and exit fee. After Clemson accused the ACC of being dishonest over the media rights on April 17, 2024, the situation escalated.

A judge in Pickens County ruled on May 3, 2024, that Clemson will get confidential copies of the ACC’s ESPN contract within one week, with the promise that the documents must remain private and be utilized only for the purpose of the lawsuit. A South Carolina judge also demanded further documents about the ACC’s arrangements with ESPN the day after, further emphasizing the need for openness in this legal dispute.

Clemson vs. ACC

This is Clemson’s take: they think the ACC’s rights grant shouldn’t be binding if they withdraw from the conference. The $140 million departure charge is excessive, in their opinion, and should not be imposed. Additionally, Clemson is requesting punitive damages, asserting that the ACC committed intentional behavior by retaining media rights long after Clemson’s withdrawal from the conference.

Though, ACC stresses that Clemson knowingly and voluntarily signed the rights grant in 2013 and renewed it in 2016. Additionally, the ACC claims that by contesting these agreements, Clemson is in breach of contract.

Legal Proceedings and Motions

Battles are raging in the courts of both South Carolina and North Carolina. Motions to dismiss and delay the lawsuit have been heard by Judge Louis A. Bledsoe III in North Carolina, who is hearing the matter. Whether the lawsuit is to proceed or not, these judgments are crucial. The judge in the case of Florida State vs. ACC reached a similar conclusion and ordered the matter to go to Charlotte.

Parul is an experienced blogger, author and lawyer who also works as an SEO content writer, copywriter and social media enthusiast. She creates compelling legal content that engages readers and improves website visibility. Linkedin

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