AG Moody To Possibly Join FSU Appeal in Lawsuit Against ACC

AG Moody To Possibly Join FSU Appeal in Lawsuit Against ACC

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
April 24, 2024

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) might be getting involved with the ACC’s (Atlantic Coast Conference) lawsuit against Florida State University (FSU), which is being held in Mecklenburg, North Carolina – where the ACC operates.

Just for clarity, Florida State and the ACC (the conference in which FSU athletics partake in), have engaged in dueling lawsuits since late December when Florida State’s Board of Trustees decided to sue the ACC (well, the ACC technically filed first but that's a different story) in an attempt to leave the conference by challenging the grant of (media) rights and the $130 million exit fee.

At the time, Florida State estimated it would cost $572 million to leave the conference immediately, but some estimates have been tagged at hundreds of millions more.

FSU has accused the ACC of breaching its fiduciary duties to league members, giving them standing to leave the Conference without penalty. Other conferences such as the Southeastern Conference and the Big 10 have secured media rights deals with ESPN and Fox Sports respectively, which bring in tens of millions more in revenue to each school compared to the ACC.

With that large of a revenue gap, it would make it incredibly hard for schools such as Florida State to compete with those in the SEC and Big 10. FSU's Grant of Rights contract with the ACC expires in 2036.

Currently, there are dueling lawsuits - one in Leon County, Florida, and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Both parties are aiming to have the case held in their home state as they both believe the laws are more favorable for their case.

With all of that in mind, on April 4, Mecklenburg County Court Judge Louis A. Bledsoe provided a 76-page court decision that states the public university waived its "sovereign immunity" as a member of the ACC. AG Moody disagrees with this decision and revealed that the State of Florida is “considering taking action [alongside FSU's] appeal.”

In a letter to the attorneys general of six states with public universities in the ACC, AG Moody asks for their attention regarding the case.

“I have attached to this letter an order that my office recently became aware of in the ACC Lawsuit … I would direct each of your attention to pages thirty-two through forty-two of that decision, where a trial court in the State of North Carolina concluded that Florida State University (‘FSU’) waived its sovereign immunity to be sued in the State of North Carolina by belonging to the Atlantic Coast Conference (the ‘ACC’).

“All of you have public universities that are members of the ACC. You each have other higher education institutions that belong to similar unincorporated sports associations. Indeed, there are countless similar organizations at every level of our states and local governments to which state and local officers are involved. It is because of the potential breadth and impact of the trial court’s claimed waiver of sovereign immunity that I write to each of you,” Moody stated in the letter.

Furthermore, Moody mentioned that in the future, other states could be at risk of losing their sovereign immunity as well.

“If the history of college football realignment has taught us anything at this point, it is that there will be some future realignment down the road,” wrote Moody.

This is a developing story.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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