GREENSBORO, N.C., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The Atlantic Coast Conference is suing the University of Maryland, claiming the school owes more than $52 million in an exit fee for bolting the conference.
The complaint, filed in state court in Greensboro, N.C., seeks a declaration that the school owes the conference the full $52,266,342 specified in the conference constitution for leaving.
The suit could hasten negotiations between the conference and the school, and lead to a settlement before Maryland's planned departure to the Big Ten, scheduled for July 2014, The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said buyouts are common when a school prefers to play in a different conference, noting West Virginia paid $20 million to leave the Big East Conference for the Big 12 but agreed to a premium price to leave immediately.
"It's a very, very common strategy within college athletics right now when it comes to conference realignment," Christian Dennie, a sports and contract lawyer, commented. "There is a question mark about the amount -- $50 million is a pretty handsome buyout compared to what the conference was paying out -- and legally, the court can decide whether it is fair, but they won't get that far down the road."