Saturday, May 25, 2013

Exit fees and the Atlantic Coast Conference vs. the University of Maryland.

The lawsuit between the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the University of Maryland could have significance in future cases challenging collegiate conference grants of media rights. Maryland is suing the ACC over the conference's $50M "exit fee," which Maryland would be required to pay if it leaves for the Big Ten Conference. Maryland's defection to the Big Ten is a foregone conclusion, because the Big Ten has already included Maryland in its 2014 football schedule.

The ACC is seeking dismissal of the lawsuit, because it alleges that Maryland has not been damaged. The disposition of this case could be significant to the media rights issue, because both require any defecting schools to pay or forfeit an enormous amount of money to their conference. If the ACC's exit fee is an illegal restraint of trade, it makes it much more likely that grants of media rights are also restraints of trade.

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