Maryland has filed a countersuit after an unsuccessful appeal of a $52 million exit fee imposed by the Atlantic Coast Conference following the school's decision to leave for the Big Ten.
A report from The Sports Xchange (via Yahoo! Sports) states the $157 million lawsuit includes claims involving ESPN as well as officials from Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, which also switched conferences.
The state attorney general also made it a point to say the suit would be ruled on in Maryland, unlike the previous decisions, which came from North Carolina, where the ACC is headquartered:
"Our lawsuit calls the ACC's 'exit fee' what it really is—an antitrust violation and an illegal activity," Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler said in a statement. "Our motion in North Carolina will ensure that a Maryland court will rule on the case."
In the suit, Maryland alleges ESPN instructed ACC leadership how to attract Big Ten schools to the ACC. It also alleges officials from Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, which joined the ACC, were openly recruiting Big Ten programs to leave.
The Associated Press (via USA Today) previously reported the $52 million fee was the highest ever assessed to a school for switching athletic conferences. It also noted Maryland had no guaranteed right of appeal in North Carolina:
A state Court of Appeals panel rejected Maryland's bid to dismiss the lawsuit. It was filed in Greensboro, where the ACC is headquartered. The three-judge panel's unanimous decision means Maryland has no automatic right to a state Supreme Court appeal. But the higher state court could choose to hear an appeal.
Originally, Maryland expected the exit fee to check in at just over $17 million. The ACC then sued Maryland for triple that amount, and it has been to this point upheld by the courts, according to the AP report, leaving Maryland to pursue other avenues, with the latest being the countersuit.
No further details about the new litigation were immediately released.
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