On Jan. 18, the attorney general of Maryland, Douglas F. Gansler, announced that he has dismissed the ACC’s attempted lawsuit against the University of Maryland. In addition, Gansler also stated that he has filed a complaint against the ACC in the University’s defense. This complaint is in regards to the “exit fee” that the ACC charged following Maryland’s announcement to move to the Big Ten.
“Our Lawsuit calls the ACC’s ‘exit fee’ what it really is – an antitrust violation and an illegal penalty,” Gansler said.
In this case the antitrust suit is due to the fact that the ACC interfered with Maryland’s desire to switch conferences with a goal of improving the finances of the school. Instead of encouraging a free economy where people and organizations move freely in or out of business relationships, the ACC has made an exit fee so dramatically inflated that its only purpose can be to discourage the freedom of choice for its teams.
The exit fee was boosted last September following a vote and there were two schools that voted against the increase: Maryland and Florida State. At the time, Maryland president Wallace Loh explained that the reason for his vote was because Maryland would be joining the Big Ten.
Maryland’s exit fee comes to the amount of $52,266,342. Since they haven’t paid any of that fee, the ACC has begun withholding Maryland’s share of television revenues for 2012-13. So far the amount withheld is at $3,067,255.27, according to a letter from ACC associate commissioner Jeff Elliot to Maryland Athletics Director Kevin Anderson on Dec. 14, 2012.
Gansler’s lawsuit says that Maryland has been excluded from conference meetings, competition meetings and scheduling/planning. His suit also guarantees that the case will be held in a Maryland court as opposed to a North Carolina one, where the ACC filed their initial suit against Maryland. In this case a North Carolina court holds no jurisdiction.