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Maryland-ACC lawsuit: three key takeaways from the settlement

Our legal analyst Matthew Royack gives us the three key takeaways from Maryland's recent settlement with the ACC.


As noted here on Testudo Times, the ACC and UMD have settled their lawsuit.  Since I had been weighing in on this matter for the site, I thought I'd follow up with a few points that I thought were important.  In order of importance to UMD:

1) No cash out of pocket

The ACC had been withholding Maryland's league revenue payments of about $3M per month. The settlement amounts to the ACC keeping what they already had, which is great for Maryland going forward.

2) Time is a factor

The cash point relates directly to the timing. Maryland officially joined the B1G on July 1, 2014, meaning that there were no further payments due to Maryland from the ACC, and therefore nothing to withhold.  This was a business decision for the ACC, either cut the line and keep what they had, or keep fighting for an uncertain result.

Additionally, the ball is in the air in 2 weeks. Not that the football players and/or staff were were overly concerned about the lawsuit, but this truly gives the entire Maryland community closure.  Everyone, fans, administrators, coaches, can focus on the Big Ten.

3) This sets a benchmark

For better or worse, Maryland is worth $31.3M to a conference.  Rutgers got out at $11.5M, WVU at $20M, so if all else fails, we're ahead of them.  In fact, "We're #1!" in exit fees that is.  It will likely stay this way for the foreseeable future.  Since this case never went to court, the legality of the ACC's exit fee hasn't truly been challenged.

Additionally, the ACC Grant of Rights remains in place, whereby the existing ACC school's signed over their TV contract rights through 2026-2027.  If Maryland is worth $31.3M, playing this forward and it's foreseeable that a reigning national champion football powerhouse F$U could project to be worth the entire $52M that the ACC set.  Add to that all of their TV rights through 2026-2027, and that is some SERIOUS cash.  The one thing I can think of that might change that equation is that the SECNetwork is set to launch.  As we've seen with the B1G, owning a network means big money, and the SEC is the biggest conference in the land, so it just MAY generate enough money to tempt a school like F$U into leaving.

Finally, I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back, calling this result (within $1 million or so) back in November 2012.  All in all, a great result.