In the end, Maryland will “save” $20 million as it heads into its first season in the Big Ten.
In a press release, the university and the ACC announced that the two sides had “reached a mediated agreement that ends all litigation between both parties.” The school and the conference had entered into the mediation phase of the process back in April.
The release went on to state that “Maryland has agreed that the ACC will keep the sum of $31,361,788 previously withheld in order to resolve the lawsuits, and the ACC has agreed that Maryland will have no obligation to make any other payments to the ACC.” Additionally, the lawsuits filed in the states of North Carolina and Maryland will be dismissed.
“On behalf of the ACC’s Council of Presidents, I am pleased that all parties can move forward, returning our focus where it belongs – on our student-athletes, intercollegiate athletic programs and institutions of higher learning,” said Donna Shalala, ACC Council of Presidents chairperson and president of Miami, in a statement. “There is great excitement surrounding the ACC and its 15 member institutions and we extend our best wishes to our colleagues at Maryland as we all look ahead to the upcoming academic year.”
Maryland announced in January of this year that it had filed a $157 million counterclaim against the ACC in which it’s alleged the conference “is confiscating NCAA monies that belong to Maryland when it has no right to do so.” At that time, the ACC had withheld over $16 million in league revenue from Maryland because of the school’s intended move to a new conference.
The $157 million figure represents “three times the amount of compensatory damages for the ACC’s violation of Maryland antitrust laws.” The ACC was attempting to assess Maryland a $52.3 million exit fee prior to its departure, hence the $20 million in “savings.”
The counterclaim also alleged that the ACC in general and Wake Forest and new member Pittsburgh specifically recruited two unnamed Big Ten schools for membership in the conference. It’s also alleged that the ACC received “counsel and direction… from ESPN” in its attempt to poach Big Ten schools, which remain anonymous for now but is suspected to include Penn State.
In February of this year, Rutgers, which is also moving to the Big Ten this year, reached an agreement with the American Athletic Conference over its departure.