ACC Rips U Maryland for Jumping to Big Ten
GREENSBORO, N.C. (CN) - The University of Maryland owes the Atlantic Coast Conference $52 million for bolting to the Big Ten, the ACC claims in Superior Court.
Maryland announced on Nov. 19 that it was jumping conferences.
The ACC claims that its Council of Presidents, which included University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, voted in September this year to set the withdrawal payment for leaving the ACC at three times the ACC's annual operating budget.
Though Maryland voted against the measure, it passed, according to the ACC's complaint in Guilford County Court.
The ACC claims its operating budget for the 2012-2013 year is around $17.4 million, which would make Maryland's exit fee $52.2 million.
The ACC says that fee was due as soon as Maryland announced its intention to leave.
The ACC says Loh has stated that Maryland does not intend to pay the fee.
"In public statements, Dr. Loh, on behalf of defendant Maryland, has referred to the withdrawal payment as 'illegal' and indicated his contention that it is unenforceable.
"Dr. Loh, on behalf of Maryland, has also stated publicly regarding the withdrawal payment that it raises issues 'for a court to decide' and is 'illegal,'" according to the complaint.
The ACC asks the court to declare that the ACC Constitution is a valid and enforceable contract and that Maryland is required to pay the exit fee.
The ACC is represented by D. Clark Smith, with Smith Moore Leatherwood.
Named as defendants are University of Maryland-College Park and the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland.
Dozens of NCAA schools have switched athletics conferences in the past few years as television revenue has driven a shift towards super-conferences.
Notable schools that have or will be moving include Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M, Syracuse, West Virginia, Texas Christian, Virginia Commonwealth and Temple.