Clemson Watches Closely as ACC and Florida State Engage in Legal Battle Over Conference Exit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The recent lawsuits between the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Florida State University (FSU) have caught the attention of Clemson, another member of the ACC. It is widely believed that Clemson would seize the opportunity to leave the ACC if offered an invitation from either the Southeastern Conference (SEC) or the Big Ten Conference. However, all ACC members, including Clemson, are contractually obligated to remain in the conference for the next ten years, unless a way out can be found.

The legal battle began when FSU filed a lawsuit against the ACC after being snubbed for the College Football Playoff. The ACC, anticipating the move, filed its own lawsuit first. Now, the ACC has filed a motion in Florida to dismiss or temporarily halt FSU’s lawsuit against the conference. This is significant because FSU may benefit from sovereign immunity in Florida, where the school is located.

Meanwhile, FSU has also sought the dismissal of the ACC’s lawsuit in North Carolina, where the conference is incorporated and has been headquartered for many years. FSU argues that the ACC failed to follow proper procedures by not allowing all constituent schools to vote before filing their lawsuit. Both parties are hoping to have the lawsuit dismissed in the state that puts them at a disadvantage.

The outcome of these legal motions could offer the first real glimpse into how this dispute will unfold. If the ACC’s lawsuit in North Carolina is dismissed, it would work in Clemson’s favor, as the university may be looking to exit the Grant of Rights that currently binds them to the ACC until 2036. On the other hand, if FSU’s lawsuit in Florida is dismissed, the ACC would have the upper hand in a North Carolina courtroom.

It is clear that resolving these lawsuits may take a considerable amount of time. Without dismissals or pauses in the proceedings, it could be years before any substantial resolution is reached. The implications of these legal battles extend far beyond the immediate concerns of FSU and the ACC, potentially impacting the future landscape of college athletics.