Says here that the Atlantic Coast Conference has sued the University of Maryland for just north of $52 million for the Terps decision to leave the ACC and join the Big Ten. The ACC claims that that amount — three times its yearly operating budget — is that current agreed to amount for leaving the conference. The key item from the Associated Press story:
The lawsuit also states that Maryland President Wallace D. Loh has “refused to provide assurance” that the school will pay the exit fee and “has made it clear that defendant Maryland does not intend to pay the amount.”
It’s hard to imagine Maryland making the move to the Big Ten if it thought it had to pay the ACC that sort of money. It’s entirely possible that Maryland is simply wrong on the law. It may also have thought — incorrectly it would seem — that the remaining ACC schools wouldn’t seek the full amount in damages.
There’s another possibility though: Let’s presume that Maryland’s decision is move both rational and well researched — that is to say that the ACC’s current exit fee is unenforceable. What then? It greatly increases the chances that the traditional football schools, beginning with Florida State, will bolt to higher revenues conferences, leaving a collection of schools better known for their basketball programs than gridiron success. In other words, the ACC circa 2017 could be a lot like the Big East of years past.
Bonus observation: College football is among the most corrupting forces in modern American society.
Update: The ACC is apparently set to add Louisville. That will fit in nicely with the basketball meme.