The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has taken a renewed legal stance against Florida State, filing an amended lawsuit on Wednesday. The amended complaint highlights "serial breaches of critical legal promises and obligations" as the league engages in a legal battle over media-revenue rights. Florida State, a member of the ACC since 1991, is pursuing a financially viable exit from the conference.
The ACC, which initiated legal action in December over the grant-of-media-rights agreement, seeks a declaratory judgment affirming the validity and enforceability of its media rights contracts. Additionally, the league is pursuing damages for alleged violations of its bylaws, anticipating substantial claims.
The updated complaint emphasizes three key additions to support the breach-of-contract claim. It asserts that Florida State is violating an agreement signed by league members twice, challenges the "irrevocable" nature of the grant of rights, and contests the agreement not to challenge it. The ACC is adamant about obtaining a declaration that its Grant of
Rights is valid and enforceable, accusing FSU of breaching its duty as a league member.
The ACC further contends that despite clear conflicts of interest, Florida State continues to participate in the conference's management, influencing fundamental policy decisions while undermining the conference's objectives. Consequently, the ACC is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Florida State's involvement in conference affairs.
The legal dispute extends to FSU's alleged breach of a confidentiality agreement with the ACC and ESPN by publicly disclosing financial terms of the ACC's deal with the network. The ACC aims to bar Florida State from disclosing such information through a permanent injunction.
This legal maneuvering is part of an ongoing battle that started when the FSU Board of Regents openly discussed leaving the ACC last February. The ACC responded with a "success initiative" to distribute revenue unevenly, but tensions persisted. Florida State, dissatisfied with revenue distribution, missed the August 15 deadline to leave the conference. The ACC's legal action anticipates a protracted legal battle, with jurisdictional issues expected to play a significant role. The dispute revolves around Florida State's desire for a more equitable revenue distribution and dissatisfaction with ACC decisions, culminating in a controversial College Football Playoff snub.