Posted January 14, 2014

Maryland countersues ACC because college sports are ridiculous

ACC, Big Ten, Conference Realignment, Conferences, THIS IS STUPID
According to Maryland's lawsuit filed by attorney general Douglas Gansler, the ACC tried to recruit unnamed Big Ten schools to the ACC "in large part on counsel and direction that the conference received from ESPN.”

According to Maryland’s lawsuit filed by attorney general Douglas Gansler, the ACC tried to recruit unnamed Big Ten schools “in large part on counsel and direction that the conference received from ESPN.” (Charles Dharapak/AP)

The NCAA and conference realignment on their own are completely absurd, so once you start throwing frivolous lawsuits in the mix, it’s a real joyride. The ACC is demanding a whole bunch of exit fee money — $52.3 million — from Big Ten-bound Maryland, which naturally doesn’t want to pay money if it doesn’t have to.

The ACC got really mad, and then Maryland started stomping their feet really loudly and is now alleging the ACC tried to “lure other schools” from the Big Ten. That means Maryland deserves, I dunno, somewhere in the realm of $157 million, give or take.

Via Yahoo! Sports:

“Our lawsuit calls the ACC’s ‘exit fee’ what it really is – an antitrust violation and an illegal activity,” Maryland attorney general Douglas Gansler said in a statement. “Our motion in North Carolina will ensure that a Maryland court will rule on the case.”

Lawsuits make you all warm and fuzzy, don’t they? Here’s what will probably happen: There will be a big public show from both sides because this is what these people do. Then they’ll make threats and claims. Then they’ll make more threats and claims. And eventually they’ll settle on an amount that’s less than the original exit fee and definitely not $157 million.

College sports is big business, and no amount of speculating on whether or not Wake Forest and Pittsburgh invited Northwestern and Penn State, or some other Big Ten friends, to go bowling with them even though they were already supposed to go to Jenny’s house because they were going to watch Now and Then and order pizza is going to change that.

30 comments
nsochurek
nsochurek

Its understandable that people want to say "lawsuits, this is so frivolous, etc." but there are actual legal questions that MD's suit raises, if anybody cared to do a little investigation.  For one, MD voted against raising the exit fee prior to indicating that it was leaving, so, those who said "they voted for it and now they want out" are just plain wrong.  Second, MD alleges that the ACC is withholding grant moneys from the NCCA (i.e. not ACC distribution fees) that, historically, the ACC would accept and then funnel to its universities as a convenience, but not as a right.  If true, I think we can agree that's messed up.  Third, anybody who is actually familiar with contract law knows that provisions of contracts can be invalidated for public policy reasons, such as being signed under duress, if there is no consideration, if the penalties are unjust, and I'm sure many other ones (I'm not a lawyer).  Many of the comments here are just as uniformed as this article.

Wolfpack
Wolfpack

The bottom line is Maryland voted for the change in the ACC charter a year or so ago, and then announced they were leaving.  They shouldn't have voted for it, and they should have left before it took effect if they had no intention of paying the money.  They act like the injured party here, when their pursuit of money is what landed them in this mess.  And we wonder about the sanity of people who sign contracts for phones, apartment rentals, etc, who default and then claim they shouldn't have to pay...  

What does this teach America?  Get a lawyer and have your tax supported attorney sue me so I can defend it with my tax supported attorney.  Hmmm. Now I see who's winning...

SteveDykstra
SteveDykstra

The point is that the ACC says they are due money because Maryland stabbed them in the back by leaving.  Except, the ACC was trying to induce teams to  do exactly what they want to punish Maryland for doing.  The ACC will say Maryland agreed to all this at some point in the past when they accepted the conference charter.  Maryland will say that agreement occurred under duress because if they said no, they would have been without a conference.  It's like charging people to get into a lifeboat knowing they'll end up floating in the ocean if they refuse to pay.  People can't really say no so they never really said yes, either.

aeppbp
aeppbp

ACC tried to recruit 2 Big Ten teams?  I believe the Big Ten recruited Maryland so not sure the point here.  Either way.....Maryland sucks so the sooner they get to the Big Ten the better.

Norman5
Norman5

In all my days I have never read an article from a prominent "news" source citing one fact: the potential amount of money passing hands, and then adding a bunch of flippant opinions to make it 'journalism.'  The continued demolition of the news industry in this country should be troubling to anyone and some day you will realize that if you do not already.

RussHaasch
RussHaasch

Hey, it's the NCAA, so by definition it's f---ed up. 

BigBubba
BigBubba

In 10 years, Maryland will be back in the ACC after the B10 realizes that they don't deserve any money, for hardly winning football games and never winning the basketball crown. 

Joel1
Joel1

Maryland, Pitt, blah, blah, blah.


They'll be insignificant once football season actually starts.


Making more money, yes---but will die in the bowels of mediocrity in their new digs.

bithomas2
bithomas2

Honestly, this countersuit sounds ridiculous.  I don't know the exact wording of the ACC exit restrictions, but I'm pretty sure it is largely limited to "if you leave for any reason, you owe an exit fee."  I seriously doubt there is any language that nullifies the exit fee if other members of the ACC try to recruit Big Ten schools to the ACC.  Why would there be?  The fee is intended to be a deterrent from member schools leaving the conference, not to prevent other schools from joining the conference.  Unless I'm unaware of some legal precedent in a similar matter, it sounds like there is no grounds whatsoever for Maryland to sue.  After all, Maryland signed onto the agreement for the exit fee, and they don't get to ignore the rules just because they want to leave for supposed greener pastures.  It honestly wouldn't surprise me if the ACC just waits out the legal process instead of settling with Maryland.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

This is one of the most irresponsible articles I've read on SI. Rickman's unprofessionalism is screaming from the page. " There will be a big public show from both sides because this is what these people do". What people are those? "...or some other Big Ten friends, to go bowling with them even though they were already supposed to go to Jenny’s house because they were going to watch Now & Then and order pizza is going to change that". Jenny's house? Really? That is how you report a story? Astonishing. You are a failure as a reporter. This isn't worthy of Deadspin. The Onion does better. SI, slap this guy down.  And if you read the comment, Martin, I suggest you resign today. A pathetic excuse for a reporting job.

Brant
Brant

I guess contract law is a new thing to Maryland, eh?

mystafugee
mystafugee

@nsochurek Wasn't it Maryland that was hiring a PR firm that was having people post comments that supported Maryland?  This post sure smells like one of those.  

Mike26
Mike26

@nsochurek There was more informative data in your paragraph then that wreck of an article.  Thank you.

GTT
GTT

@Norman5 This is a column, Norm, not a news story. Columns contain opinion. See, now you are not ignorant on that point anymore. You're welcome.

B.C.*
B.C.*

@BigBubbaMaryland - 2002 NCAA Basketball Champions.  Dummy

joeblow345
joeblow345

@RickapolisI think you missed the point of the article.  It's called satire...look it up

MikeHarrison
MikeHarrison

You know Martin has to know somebody high up, how else would he have gotten this gig?

JohnnyDee1
JohnnyDee1

@BrantDoug Gansler is running for Governor...This suit has a dual purpose...to save the taxpayers the $52.3 Million dollar bill that the Univ. of MD will have to pay if found in breech...but...it's an event that gets him in the light in some form of a positive light (he is having some problems because of his dopey son attending a drinking party in DE and Gansler was photographed while he was there to relay a message to his kid)...Democrats never let a good crisis stand in the way of them and the camera!!!

Alex1
Alex1

@Brant the point is they are trying to nullify the contract 

Mike26
Mike26

@GTT @Norman5 Wrong.  It's not written as a column but an informative article.  Unfortunately, Rickman was unable to keep an even tone to the article.  It DEFINITELY was not a a column.