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Judge denies Maryland’s motion to dismiss ACC lawsuit

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Since announcing its intentions last November to move from the ACC to the Big Ten, Maryland has been tied up in a legal battle with the ACC over the conference’s $52 million exit fee.

Last month, Maryland filed a motion to dismiss the contract suit asking the Terps to pay every last penny of the exit fee. Maryland counsel argued that a North Carolina court, where the ACC suit was filed, has no jurisdiction over Maryland and that the university has sovereign immunity from such suits.

But perhaps not surprisingly, North Carolina judge John O. Craig III doesn’t see it that way. Per the Associated Press, Craig denied Maryland’s motion to dismiss the ACC’s lawsuit. Where Maryland goes from here hasn’t been determined yet, but given the amount of money at hand, not to mention the university’s current financial problem, it’s hard to believe the Terps are anywhere near ready to give up and fork over over $50 million-plus.

The ACC has maintained it will hold Maryland to that amount. Historically, that hasn’t even held water. But at least for today, mark this as a win for the ACC.

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25 Responses to “Judge denies Maryland’s motion to dismiss ACC lawsuit”
  1. dawglb says: Feb 18, 2013 9:16 PM

    Awwwwwww,… Shall we all have a pity party for UMD? Our society has gotten to be pathetic. Contracts don’t mean a thing. Signing your name isn’t worth the paper it is written on.
    Here is an idea, stay until your obligation is over, or pay. Keep this nonsense out of the courts.

  2. jrconley4 says: Feb 18, 2013 9:35 PM

    That’s not what happened here dawglb. This is not about them leaving early. Read up on it.

  3. daiatlas says: Feb 18, 2013 10:06 PM

    They need to just decide on a settlement amount in the range of 10-15 million; so, we can watch how the rest of the realignment chips fall.

  4. normtide says: Feb 18, 2013 10:47 PM

    Fighting lawsuits isn’t cheap either. Exit fees are really just a hollow sign of unity. Like a friendship ring. Its an ineffective speed bump in realignment. The league itself has a responsibility to its programs, to make them want to stay. The three must stable leagues understand this. I doubt any of them have exit fees.

    If a team wanted to leave the SEC, I would say goodbye, don’t let the door hit you. I only wants teams fully invested in being here. Why should you want a member that doesn’t want to be there? That can never work out well.

    This is more about being shunned. The ACC has already filled Maryland’s spot.

  5. thegamecocker says: Feb 18, 2013 11:06 PM

    This is the NorthCarolina crowd lead by Dean Smith disciple John Swofford and supported by Roy Williams and Coach K. This will be resolved out of court and it should be. The ACC still believes that basketball drives the bus. It doesn’t. This contract will not hold up in court. Maryland voted against it and it was coercion. I hope the ACC gets cherry picked. Wouldn’t mine seeing them disintegrate.

  6. nawlinsmitty says: Feb 18, 2013 11:29 PM

    Thegamecocker…if I am not mistaken you are a S.C. fan. The only thing you have is football, and that has been recent. Sounds like childish jealousy to me.

  7. voorheesma says: Feb 19, 2013 12:11 AM

    Yes it willbe settled for much less. Swofford and the Carolina Mafia could have just as easily written in $52 billion instead of $52 million. You can’t arbitrarily pick a number that’s not agreed upon and try to stick it on someone. You also can’t sue for an amount as a punishment for leaving only for that which are damages.
    Not sure what damages there are when the All Carolina Conf is on record stating they upgraded with Louisville.

  8. thegamecocker says: Feb 19, 2013 9:09 AM


    Incorrect sir! We have an outstanding academic foundation as well as a growing athletic program. We have won two College World Series and have been in the last three straight. Our football program speaks for itself and if not mistaken, on August 31, 2013, the NC Tarheels will also find out about SC football straight up. Our basketball program finally has outstanding leadership with Frank Martin at the helm. BTW, he so reminds me of another individual named “Frank”….as in Frank McGuire. Our women’s basketball team is ranked in the Top 20 lead by another great coach in Dawn Staley. Childish jealousy? I think not as you were probably not around in 1971 when the ACC tormented USC and ultimately changed the rules of entrance to comply with the NCAA. Now shutup!

  9. nicksabansanahole says: Feb 19, 2013 10:02 AM

    Don’t bother the gamecocker. He has a major case of little big man’s disease and is always right. USC is such a powerhouse, they have played in sooo many SEC championship games and are outstanding in men’s basketball. Frank Martin’s meltdown just screams leadership. That is why he brings up womens sports and college baseball. But seriously dude? Academics? Enjoy the ride while Spurrier is there, because when he is gone you can go back to trolling and being a bottom feeder like you have been for the last 100 years.

    Now he will respond with mom jokes or something else on a third grade level.

  10. guinsrule says: Feb 19, 2013 11:37 AM

    Maryland agreed to the exit fee when they thought it could be used against the southern ACC schools that were possible Big 12 targets. Now, suddenly they get a Big 10 invite and it’s biting THEM in the ass…Pay up hypocrites!

  11. normtide says: Feb 19, 2013 11:50 AM

    Iirc, Maryland and FSU both voted against the fee increase.

  12. thegamecocker says: Feb 19, 2013 12:11 PM


    Your moniker speaks for itself….. except you should replace Coach Saban with your name.

  13. nicksabansanahole says: Feb 19, 2013 12:42 PM

    @gamecocker. LOL. That’s all you got. Now get back to pumping gas in 5 points with the rest of the gamecocks. I don’t want my employees late back from lunch because or your laziness.

    BTW. Coach McGuire got SCAR to leave the ACC because he didn’t like the rule that you have to win the ACC tournament to get in the NCAA tournament. He got one tournament win, then they left. To this day the ACC does not recognize a regular season champion. But that sums it up for SCAR doesn’t it. Whine about the rules because the aren’t fair to them when they apply to everybody else the same.

  14. thegamecocker says: Feb 19, 2013 1:02 PM


    Not true. It was Paul Dietzel who engineered the departure of SC from the ACC. He was recruiting a guy named Freddy Solomon who ended up at U. of Tampa and the NFL. Freddy met NCAA entrance requirements but not good enough for the ACC. A year after Carolina left, the ACC changed the rule to comply with NCAA requirement. That is the truth. This action ruined Coach McGuire’s long-term work sustaining the program he built at SC. We were in “no man’s land” for about 20 years until joining the SEC. That was the best thing that happened because of the financial windfall and the University’s subsequent growth since joining. If we didn’t join the SEC there is little doubt we would be back in the ACC. But, as we all know, the ACC is now very vulnerable. You need to do better research because you don’t know what you are writing about.

  15. nicksabansanahole says: Feb 19, 2013 2:20 PM

    That is the “official” reason but everybody knows the real reason. So you are admitting that the academic standards of SCAR won’t fly in the ACC. Some standards you guys have down there. Weren’t you bragging about academics earlier?

    No doubt the ACC is vulernable. The leadership of Swofford, and I do use that term leadership loosely, is pathetic. The ACC better get some leadership that is more focused on the conference than protecting dear old UNC and DUKE basketball because the other schools have had enough.

  16. thegamecocker says: Feb 19, 2013 2:38 PM


    No I’m not stating that at all. Back in the ’60’s, the ACC requirements were more stringent than the NCAA’s. All SC wanted was a level playing field so that we could recruit competitively. Why should the conference have a more difficult standard for acceptance than what the NCAA requires? It didn’t make sense and the ACC relaxed their requirements one year after Carolina’s departure.

    At least we appear to agree on one thing: leadership of the ACC is basketball-centric. That will not be effective moving forward as it is all about the money. Coach K and Roy Williams play Swofford like the puppet he is. IMO schools like Clemson and FSU are watching the Maryland proceedings b/c that outcome could very well determine the next conference realignment.

  17. ajarkoski says: Feb 19, 2013 3:08 PM

    Good to see the debate get reasonable and the petty personal attacks stop. The ACC is being very proactive at making it as difficult and as costly as possible for Maryland to leave; otherwise, the exiting, poaching and realignement of other teams will have this as precedent. How ironic as the ACC abused the Big East and now is on the verge of getting some of its own medicine. Just as some Big Twelve teams got fed up with Texas, there must be a few ACC teams feeling the same about the privileged North Carolina/Duke teams.

  18. cosmkdbree says: Feb 19, 2013 6:35 PM

    This will be settled out of court. The reason is that $50 million is to much. It is equal to 3 times the annual operating budget for the entire ACC.

    This amount makes the current exit fee punitive. Legally, punitive damages are not allowed in a case like this. Only actual damages are allowed. It’s simply impossible for the ACC to legally prove this much in actual damage.

    Further, if the case goes to court and Maryland wins, it will throw the entire NCAA conference system into chaos. Literally. It will be like starting the conference system all over again from scratch.

    For these reasons the NCAA will lean hard on ACC officials to settle out of court. It’ll never go to trial.

  19. thegamecocker says: Feb 19, 2013 7:00 PM


    Exactly correct! One can make an argument the entire conference realignment was initiated by the ACC. They wanted to improved their football portfolio by adding Boston College, Va. Tech, and Miami. But only Va Tech has performed football wise as expected while both Miami and BC have fallen on lean times. So the geniuses at the ACC decided to try and implement a punitive fee to exit the conference and as COSMKDREE states: “the NCAA will lean hard on ACC officials to settle out of court.”

  20. gtj911dawg says: Feb 21, 2013 2:01 AM

    The ACC has no modern day leadership. Swofford and his 60s and 70s way of running the ACC is rapidly transforming the lead into the Big East 2.0. The additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and non-football Notre Dame shows everyone Swofford wants to maintain basketball as the base sport of choice for the basketball focused ACC. If Swofford and his old school cronies at Duke and UNC were smart they would wake up and recognize football rules modern day athletics financially, not basketball. The ACC is ruled by hypocrites. How can you try to sue Maryland, who has lost millions in athletics doing things Swofford’s way, for leaving to improve themselves financially when Swofford has looted every viable program from the Big East. Here in Tallahassee, resentment for Swofford has reached a boiling point. FSU lost $500,000 by winning Swofford’s ACC football crown in 2012. The ACC football championship game is totally irrelevant as is the Orange Bowl under Swofford’s good ole boy leadership. The ACC football Divisions makeup of Atlantic and Coastal are laughable, lacking rivalries and serving to protect football weaklings Duke and UNC from losing to FSU annually. If Swofford was a real visionary he’d wakeup and align the divisions membership properly by setting up North and South Divisions. The South should consist of FSU, Clemson, Ga.Tech, Wake Forest, NC St., UNC, and Duke. The North would be made up of Syracuse, B.C., Pitt, Va.Tech, UVa, Louisville and Miami. UM would be placed in the North because of their historic past with most members in that division, which would offset the geographic displacement. Swofford could save ACC football from it’s upcoming demise. It was very foolish of him to allow Notre Dame partial membership with no football commitment. Isn’t that what the Big East did and it ruined them because ND will NEVER join any conference in football as long as they have NBC in their pockets. Look Swofford is a dinosaur that won’t die off in tyime to save ACC football. I hope Maryland wins a reasonable settlement to leave, which will kick the door open for FSU, Clemson, VT and Miami. If Swofford stays he will have what Duke and UNC wants a league of East Coast basketball because the football-centric teams like FSU, Clemson, and Miami will continue to lose money until they are forced to bailout like Maryland wisely did.

  21. thegamecocker says: Feb 21, 2013 9:51 AM


    EXCELLENT POST! I did not realize the sentiment felt down in Tallahassee. FSU is probably kicking themselves for not joining the SEC when they were invited back in 1991. This opened the door for South Carolina who no doubt would have been invited back to the ACC from which we departed in 1971. We are thankful to FSU for this “gesture”. I too hope Maryland wins this case and allows FSU, Va. Tech, and Clemson to pursue other avenues. Unfortunately I doubt either will be invited to join the SEC.

  22. gtj911dawg says: Feb 23, 2013 7:27 AM

    @thegamecocker: I am a Georgia Bulldog fan who resides in Tallahassee. I speak with Seminole fans on a daily basis about this subject because I find it both ironic and intriguing that FSU is in a big predicament as an unhappy member of the ACC. I remember in 1991 as if it were yesterday when the SEC offered membership to FSU and UMiamiion,Fla. You would think that FSU would have immediately joined with no hesitation but incredibly it declined SEC membership at the behest of then head football coach Bobby Bowden. It was Bowden who stated FSU already played Florida and Miami on it’s football schedule as an independent. Remember prior to 1991 Bowden had turned FSU into a winner but still had not won a national title due to annual setbacks/losses at the hands of Miami, who claimed the national title in 1989 despite losing to FSU & 1991 by beating FSU in the classic Wide Right I battle. Bowden, after experiencing so much trouble with the Hurricanes, feared he would never win a national title if FSU joined the SEC. He exclaimed there was no way FSU could continue to play UM and UF with a combination of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, and others in the SEC added to FSU’s schedule. Instead of boldly seizing a historic moment for FSU, Bowden cowered and claimed the best chance for FSU to win the national title would be to take the path of least resistance or to avoid the SEC and join the significantly weaker ACC. Miami avoided the SEC also but was undesirable by the ACC at that time. UM joined the Big East and by Bowden’s request FSU joined the ACC, a league he knew he was at least 10 years ahead of it’s best team. I researched further and found out that each year from 1954 to 1979 FSU applied for SEC membership only to be rejected each year for 25 years ! It’s ironic FSU did not join the SEC in ’91. The SEC promptly invited South Carolina and Arkansas to join and the rest is history. The Gamecocks and Razorbacks should thank Miami and Bowden for their tickets to the SEC.

  23. thegamecocker says: Feb 23, 2013 7:49 AM


    Thanks so much for that history lesson as I was of the belief FSU turned it down because of the academic strength of the ACC. I never knew that Bowden was behind the scenes pulling the “puppet strings.” What a huge error in judgment he made. He won his National Championship, but that doesn’t pay the bills today. South Carolina is proud to be a member of the SEC and it has paid off handsomely both academically and athletically. We are not yet the University of Georgia, but we have made great strides none the less. Athens is a great little town and UGa is a beautiful campus setting. Sanford Stadium is breathtaking and a wonderful venue on game day. We are now competitive on the playing fields in the SEC and that took awhile. But slow and steady is fine with Carolina and the bank account provides this foundation for growth. To your point, thank-you Coach Bowden and U. of Miami! Couldn’t of done it without you.

  24. gtj911dawg says: Feb 23, 2013 7:58 AM

    Htioere in Tallahassee, Seminole fans are kicking themselves, kicking each other and walking with their heads down in frustration and confusion about being STUCK in the ACC and not being able to join the SEC. The current generation of Seminole dislikes being a member of the ACC and feel they belong in the SEC. They are incredulous when told once upon a time in 1991, before many of them where born, the SEC opened the door for FSU to join. Only to have Bobby Bowden say,” Thanks, but no thanks, we’re going to the ACC.” All their lives the current FSU student body has been told how great former FSU head coach was until his career faded in the 2000s until his dismissal in 2009. Now that student body wants the answer to one question: “Who’s “great idea” was to get FSU in the ACC? When told the truth, they often respond it was a self-serving decision by Bowden that made sense back then to him, but was in reality today a poor decision over the long haul. But in 1990, Bowden obviously wasn’t concerned about the long range 2012-13 consequences of his decision to lead FSU to the ACC. All Bowden saw back then was multiple ACC championships and a soft track to the national title. His choice gives credence to the saying, “sensible decisions made for the time being often are not so sensible beyond that moment.”

  25. gtj911dawg says: Feb 23, 2013 8:47 AM

    @ TheGamecocker: Thank you. I have been here the entire time in Tallahassee. I knew back in ’91 Bowden had made a poor choice to duck the SEC for the ACC. I hope FSU would man-up and join the SEC. I labeled it cowardice at the time and it’s like the saying goes, “to be the best you’ve got to play the best.” I have read about the problems that South Carolina experienced as an ACC member which lead to their departure in 1971. I’m glad that things worked out as they did. By joining the best league and accepting the challenge South Carolina and Arkansas have benefitted tremendously financially and competitively. The Gamecocks have a high profile coach, players and the football program has brought more and more recognition each year for the past three years with high profile games and wins. Williams-Brice Stadium always sells out and is a very difficult venue for opposing teams. Trust me, as a Georgia Bulldog we learned just how tough the Gamecocks are at home last season. That darn rooster never stopped crowing all night. LOL! Hats off to Carolina they were the better team that night. FSU and Miami are getting what they deserve now by ducking SEC membership back in ’91.

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