Florida State’s messy attempt at exiting the ACC, explained

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Florida State’s messy attempt at exiting the ACC, explained

After an offseason filled with inquiry about their place in the college football world, along with being unceremoniously left out of the College Football Playoffs Florida State University is finally exploring their options in terms of exiting their Grant of Rights contract.

Florida State BoT voted to approve the filing of a lawsuit against the ACC that challenges the grant of rights.

— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) December 22, 2023

As a refresher, the Grant of Rights is an agreement each ACC team signed in 2013 in response to Maryland leaving the Big Ten. This essentially gave their rights to broadcast their games over to the ACC, not the individual school. This deal is extended through 2036, because back in 2013 the idea was that none of the schools would try to leave the conference.

Well, so much for that.

At Florida State’s Board of Trustees meeting, the ‘Noles essentially stoked the flames for their eventual departure, stating that the Grant of Rights shouldn’t be allowed and the university should be able to leave the conference when it wants to without paying the exit fee. The exit fee would be the rest of the Grant of Rights contract stacked on top of a massive withdrawal penalty, which has risen since 2013 when Maryland left to join the B1G.

How much would that exit fee be? Well, let’s just say I hope you saved some extra Christmas money:

So, now that we’ve set the stakes for the eventually messy breakup, the future ramifications could be massive.

First of all, there’s no way Florida State can raise $572 million. That’s an insane amount of money that would more than likely have to come from cutting other smaller programs. Earlier in the off-season, reports surfaced that the Seminoles were looking into a private equity fund to raise capital, but nothing was ever confirmed out of those reports. Either way it goes, they don’t have the money to straight up just go and leave, hence why they’re examining the Grant of Rights again and challenging it.

It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the only ACC school that has looked into the Grant of Rights. In light of the USC and UCLA move to the Big Ten this summer, Florida State (along with Miami, Clemson, UNC, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech) all were “thoroughly” examining ways to get out of that Grant of Rights contract. Yet, nothing came of it but feigned unity on all fronts. During the season, as the Pac-12 stood on its last legs, the conference added Cal, Stanford and SMU, which seemed like it would smooth things over, right?

I guess not.

Make no mistake about it, this move is more about the Seminoles entering a different conference to make more money instead of the CFP snub. While the snub might’ve been the straw that broke the camel’s back, this move is mainly being brought on by FSU wanting more money.

On Thursday, the ACC filed a lawsuit against the Florida State Board of Trustees, claiming that any jurisdiction needs to happen in North Carolina, where the ACC headquarters are located.

This will be messy, and there’s going to be a lot of lawyers involved. We’ll keep you updated on this ongoing saga.

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