Reports: Florida State moves to file lawsuit against ACC grant of rights

The Florida State Board of Trustees met Friday morning, and they voted to file a lawsuit against the Atlantic Coast Conference — a sign the Seminoles could leave the conference.

Florida State’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously “to sue the ACC to challenge the legality of the league’s grant of rights and its $130 million withdrawal fee,” according to Andrea Adelson of ESPN.

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The current ACC grant of rights binds Florida State to the conference for 12 more years, according to Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press.

According to the AP, ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips and Virginia president and Chairman of the conference’s board of director Jim Ryan said “Florida State’s actions are ‘in direct conflict with their longstanding obligations and is a clear violation of their legal commitments to the other members of the conference.’”

During the meeting, Florida State outside counsel David Ashburn said “the ACC’s grant of rights violates antitrust law and has unenforceable withdrawal penalties,” according to the AP.

Florida State explored in August a possible move out of the ACC. University President Richard McCullough said “the current landscape of the distribution of revenue within the ACC is not enough.”

According to ESPN, Florida State alleges “chronic fiduciary mismanagement and bad faith” in “the way the ACC has handled its multimedia rights agreements and undermined its members’ revenue opportunities.”

Among the others reasons Florida State is moving forward with a lawsuit against the ACC is “breach of contract and failure to perform,” according to ESPN.

The exit fee, in totality including the forfeiture of television revenue, “would be $572 million,” according to ESPN.

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According to ESPN, “if a judge grants declaratory judgment in favor of Florida State, the school would be able to leave the ACC without penalty,” and it would be effective Aug. 14, 2023, to “ensure Florida State could leave the conference in event of new bylaws being put into place.”

No school has ever challenged a conference’s grant of rights in court, according to ESPN.