Maryland tries to prove their departure didn’t damage the ACC.


Thursday was an interesting day for those that are following the Maryland vs ACC case. It’s pretty simple the ACC thinks Maryland owes them a $53 Million exit fee for leaving the conference in 2012. The Terrapins are fighting it.

The Washington Post reported today a legal filing by Maryland that details an ACC- Conducted Market Analysis that tries to prove the conference’s future value in regards to possible formation of a conference network. You can also read that entire Market Analysis report on the Washington Post site.

The report was written sometime in the last 6-12 months, and obviously is an introductory work. Most of the details have already been released in some form or another over the last few months. With regards to Maryland, they are clearly trying to prove that the ACC did not suffer any damage due to their departure. I’m no lawyer, and I haven’ t been pouring over the details of the case, but that development today caught my eye. I’ll be honest I don’t really follow this train of thinking.

If my car is rear-ended am I not entitled to the insurance even if I have the means to buy a better car than the original? You can’t say there wasn’t damage here either. That is what Maryland is trying to prove, but the moment Maryland left the conference there was damage and the potential for even more crippling damage.

UNC AD Bennie Cunningham expressed concern over the future of the ACC. Cunningham’s reaction to Maryland’s departure  is documented in the Raleigh News and Observer. 

“We are looking at all options,” Cunningham wrote last November, the day after Maryland announced its move, in an email to a concerned UNC supporter. “But keeping the ACC strong is our number one choice.”

Would Wake Forest, Boston College or some other ACC schools not found a major conference home and suffered millions of dollars of lost revenue if the ACC had dissolved?

That end result was unlikely, but  the precedent has already been set. The Big East as it lost and replaced members eventually suffered a loss in value to the tune of millions of dollars. As the conference split apart the remaining members potential earning power dropped. The ACC mitigated their potential damage by quickly inviting Louisville, and soon after signing their GOR.

By Maryland’s argument, had the ACC not invited Louisville, or signed the GOR, and actually lost more members, the ACC would have more rights to the exit fee? In essence Maryland would be more apt to pay the exit fee, if the ACC had nothing at all?

I think this is more a ploy by Maryland’s legal team to illustrate they are ready and willing to release internal documents from the ACC in hopes of reaching a settlement. Since the ACC has made few statements on this topic, it’s difficult to know exactly where they stand. My guess at the moment, is this is going to be a lengthy court proceeding, and what Maryland did today won’t change that.


  1. Summer says:

    I wonder if the inverse could also be true? If another conference (B1G) was willing to pay up for Maryland, doesn’t that prove that Maryland had worth and subsequently damaged the ACC by leaving?

    Maryland had the sought after DC market. And its departure allows another conference into the ratings share of the east coast markets.

  2. Jfann says:

    Yes the potential for damage was extensive, the ACC just happened to act promptly. Maryland is using circular logic to avoid paying exit an fee. The by law isn’t pay an exit fee unless we find a suitable replacement.

    They may not get all $53 Million, but the payment will be sizeable. I’m guessing 35-40 Million.

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