When Maryland announced that it was leaving the ACC for the Big Ten, the school apparently didn’t intend to pay the exit fee that comes with leaving the conference. On Nov. 26, 2012, the ACC sued Maryland for the funds and it hasn’t gotten much better since then.
Scheduled to officially exit the ACC in June, Maryland is subpoenaing 10 conference schools, as well as ESPN, to release documents that pertain to the school’s release from the conference and countersuit of the ACC.
The countersuit also alleges that two ACC schools — prompted by ESPN and motivated by the desire for more lucrative television contracts — attempted to persuade several Big Ten schools to switch conferences. The school is seeking $157 million from the ACC, plus punitive damages to be determined by the court.
In a filed motion, Maryland also claims that it is owed $20 million in NCAA and ACC distributions, and that the league may have purposefully left North Carolina and Duke off of the Terp’s home men’s basketball schedule. Maryland has summoned documents from North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia. With Pittsburgh subpoenaed on Friday, Maryland has only received a response from Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech so far.
According to the Washington Post, Maryland has been on the warpath with serving these subpoenas:
According to a motion to stay discovery filed by the ACC on March 4, Maryland served the ACC 94 document requests covering a time span of 12 years in late December. Shortly thereafter, the court filing says, Maryland began serving subpoenas to the ACC schools and eight third-party media entities and subpoenas are currently pending with at least 19 separate entities seeking more than 35 categories of documents from each.
Proving the ACC stalled on the exit process and withheld funding from Maryland is one thing, but proving ESPN attempted to persuade schools to leave the Big Ten for the ACC would be an unprecedented finding. ESPN makes a living broadcasting games, but has always been in the shadows of conference realignment. Any tangible proof of their fingerprints actually being on these moves would rock college athletics.