And so it begins: ACC files suit against Maryland

Patrick McDermott

Maryland, led by Wallace Loh, famously thinks that the ACC's exit fee is punitive and illegal. The ACC responded by not backing down and more or less saying "see you in court."

Now they're actually saying "see you in court."

The ACC filed a lawsuit against Maryland in North Carolina state court after the Terrapins announced last week their intentions to join the Big Ten conference. The case was filed in the Greensboro courthouse Monday, a state court clerk confirmed to The Chronicle.

The lawsuit, which the clerk said is a contract suit, is likely regarding the payment of the $50 million required to leave the ACC. The exit fee was raised to that figure when the conference announced the addition of Notre Dame as a partial member in September. Maryland and Florida State were the only two schools to vote against the increase.

So this is where it all starts, then: Maryland doesn't want to pay the $50mil, and the conference is taking them to court. We've been over this many, many times: it seems unlikely that the ACC will be able to demonstrate that the $50mil fee is, in fact, not punitive and merely covers the damages from Maryland leaving, given that it's difficult to think that Maryland's absence will cause that much in damages. Past that, I'm in over my head and will stop talking, lest I embarrass myself.

In other news, I am wondering if maybe, just maybe, this whole thing might happen sooner than otherwise expected. The ACC seems to be moving pretty quickly with finding member #14 - probably UConn or Louisville, based on what's being said now - and if those schools want in immediately, what incentive does the ACC have to tell them to wait until 2014 when Maryland vacates? There's no bonus on the ACC's end about keeping Maryland around if they already have someone else willing to come in; we're the ghost at the feast here, reminding everyone involved of their potential eventual demise. Obviously unlikely, but I'd take a quicker exit in a heartbeat.

Either way, I leave you with a joke from a Carolinian: Maryland's lead attorney probably just blew his ACL.

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