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ACC issues sharp rebuke of FSU's lawsuit challenging league Grant of Rights

Matt Connollyby:Matt Connolly12/22/23


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ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips and Chair of the ACC Board of Directors Jim Ryan released a statement on the Florida State Board of Trustees meeting that took place Friday morning.

FSU announced during the BOT meeting that it is challenging the ACC’s Grant of Rights in court.

Phillips and Ryan said in a joint statement that the ACC believes the Grant of Rights will stand up in court.

“Florida State’s decision to file action against the Conference is in direct conflict with their longstanding obligations and is a clear violation of their legal commitments to the other members of the Conference. All ACC members, including Florida State, willingly and knowingly re-signed the current Grant of Rights in 2016, which is wholly enforceable and binding through 2036. Each university has benefited from this agreement, receiving millions of dollars in revenue and neither Florida State nor any other institution, has ever challenged its legitimacy. 

“As a league, we are proud of the successes of our student-athletes and that the ACC has won the most NCAA National Championships over the past two and half years while also achieving the highest graduation success and academic performance rates among all FBS conferences, so it is especially disappointing that FSU would choose to pursue this unprecedented and overreaching approach.

“We are confident that the Grant of Rights, which has been honored by all other universities who signed similar agreements, will be affirmed by the courts and the Conference’s legal counsel will vigorously enforce the agreement in the best interests of the ACC’s current and incoming members.” 

More on Florida State challenging the Grant of Rights

The FSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Friday to challenge the ACC Grant of Rights.

“I believe this board has been left with no choice but to challenge the legitimacy of the ACC Grant of Rights and its severe withdraw penalties,” FSO BOT chair Peter Collins said said ahead of the vote.

“I believe that we have exhausted all possible remedies within the conference, and we must do what we believe is best for Florida State — not only in the short-term, but in the long-term.”

Later during the meeting, the Florida State BOT presented an estimation of what it will cost to leave the ACC, as things stand. It estimates that the ACC Grant of Rights fee, plus a severe ACC withdrawal fee, will make the total cost to leave the conference at approximately $572,000,000.

If FSU wins in court, its legal counsel believes that it will owe nothing to exit the league.