Clemson joins Florida State in legal battle against ACC, forecasting more realignment

After months of rumors, the Clemson Tigers are finally suing against the ACC in order for them to leave the conference.

Clemson v South Carolina
Clemson v South Carolina / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

After lining up lawyers, the Clemson Tigers are gearing up for a legal fight against their conference. According to Pete Nakos of One3Sports, Clemson "has filed a lawsuit" against the ACC. The Tigers are claiming that the ACC is hindering "Clemson’s ability to meaningfully explore its options regarding conference membership with the grant of rights clause."

The Tigers have flirted with leaving the ACC since their argument for a greater spilt of the revenue sharing has gone unanswered by the heads of the ACC. Clemson has looked for ways to jump ship for the Big Ten or SEC. This would allow them to get more earnings from their TV deal as these two conferences have the biggest TV deals in college sports.

While the ACC has tried to adjust its revenue-sharing system by switching some of its systems to one that incentivizes a "success incentive initiative", which rewards teams based on their performances in postseason competition. The conference has been unable to shutter the noise of teams abandoning it.

The major holdup is the grant of rights clause that the ACC holds on Clemson. Per their deal, the ACC is set to receive any TV money that any team has that signed the clause in 2013 until 2036, even if they decide to leave for another conference.

Is Clemson on their way to leaving the ACC with this recent lawsuit?

It's likely at some point that Clemson will leave the ACC. The Tigers will probably leave the ACC after Florida State leaves the conference, who are willing to pay an outside firm to estimate the total cost of the exit fee. Clemson is not looking to pay the exit fee and is asking the court to rule in their favor.

Additionally, Clemson is asking the court to state the fact that the ACC does not control its duties as a financial organization. Although the University could be doing this secretly, the fact that the Tigers have not publicly released the figure that it would cost to leave the conference shows that they are looking for cheap way to get out of the ACC.

It's likely that eventually Clemson will leave the ACC, the question of when will probably be easy to tell based on the results of this lawsuit.

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