Home Florida judge orders ACC, Florida State into mediation to resolve legal differences

Florida judge orders ACC, Florida State into mediation to resolve legal differences

Chris Graham
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A Florida judge has ordered the ACC and Florida State University to mediation to settle their dueling lawsuits over FSU’s attempt to get out of having to pay more than half a billion dollars to get out of the league.

Judge John C. Cooper has ordered the parties to begin mediation within a period of 120 days, so, into the next academic sports year

Mediation being what it is, you can expect the cases filed by the school and the conference to end up back in court.

The push from the judge to have the parties try to work things out is part of the legal process, which could take years in a complicated matter like this one.

“I send every case to mediation except mortgage foreclosures,” Cooper said on Monday. “This is not being done any differently.”

Clemson is also suing the ACC to try to get out of its grant of media rights and the exit fee that ACC member schools agreed to in 2016 ahead of signing the 20-year TV deal with ESPN that locks everybody together all the way to 2036.

The idea of locking in the TV deal seemed like a good one back in 2016, but the Big Ten and SEC, which both went with shorter-term deals around the same time, have since reupped for significantly more TV money, which will nearly double what the ACC brings in per school by the end of the decade.

So, you can understand why FSU, Clemson and other member schools – including Virginia and Virginia Tech – have looked at what they can do to address the money discrepancy.

But it takes more than simply not liking the terms of an existing contract and hoping to get somebody to sign off on letting you out of it without penalty.

Which FSU and Clemson – and whoever else might want to sign on to their lawsuits – will be finding out, not necessarily soon, but they’ll find out just the same.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].