Clemson sues ACC over grant of media rights, withdrawal penalty

Clemson is suing the Atlantic Coast Conference, becoming the second school to take the conference to court over grant of media rights.

Clemson filed its suit Tuesday in Pickens County, S.C. Florida State sued the conference in December.

The contention by Clemson is that the ACC claims it owns the media rights of member schools to home games through 2036 — even if a school departs the conference. Clemson also says in the suit that schools must pay $140 million to leave the conference on top of the grant of media rights.

Those factors hinder “Clemson’s ability to meaningfully explore its options regarding conference membership, to negotiate alternative revenue-sharing proposals among ACC members, and to obtain full value for its future media rights.”

Clemson was one of seven schools that reportedly have been investigating a departure from the conference amid a changing college landscape.

Following a new agreement with the College Football Playoff and ESPN, the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference schools are set to receive more than $21 million, most ACC schools will get upward of $13 million, and Notre Dame and Big 12 members will be paid more than $12 million from television revenues.

The Big Ten is expanding by four members — USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington — in the upcoming academic year. The ACC is adding three schools — SMU as well as Stanford and Cal, which left the Pac-12 as members’ departures decimated the conference.

Oklahoma and Texas are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC — the move that triggered a seismic shift in college conferences.

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