When the Maryland Terrapins announced they would be leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference in favor of the more stable Big 10 conference, the ACC decided to sue Maryland in order to force them to pay the conference’s recently raised their exit fee, about $52.3 million.
Maryland has been trying to get the case thrown out in a North Carolina court, but according to the Associated Press, that won’t be happening.
A state Court of Appeals panel rejected Maryland’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit. It was filed in Greensboro, where the ACC is headquartered. The three-judge panel’s unanimous decision means Maryland has no automatic right to a state Supreme Court appeal. But the higher state court could choose to hear an appeal.
The $52 million fee is the highest penalty ever assessed on a school for leaving an athletic conference and would be nearly equal to the school’s yearly athletic budget, Maryland’s attorney general’s office said in May. The school’s athletic department last year cut seven sports teams as it struggled with multimillion-dollar annual losses.
Maryland will be replaced by the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, starting next season.