Florida State University sues the Atlantic Coast Conference over more than 'travesty' playoff decision

Florida State University sues the Atlantic Coast Conference over more than ‘travesty’ playoff decision

(As originally published with additional photos, Fri, December 22nd 2023; local article here)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TND) — Florida State University is suing the Atlantic Coast Conference, alleging the conference “persistently undermined its members’ revenue opportunities” and damaged FSU.

The lawsuit filed in Leon County circuit court on Friday came nearly three weeks after the Seminoles became the first undefeated champion of a Power 5 conference to be left out of the College Football Playoff.

That decision angered university and state officials. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s running for the GOP presidential nomination, even recommended the state offer $1 million for any legal action about the snub.

Plus, state attorney general Ashley Moody demanded information from the playoff selection committee about FSU’s exclusion from the four-team playoff.

But, FSU Board of Trustees chair Peter Collins, who called the playoff decision “a travesty,” said it wasn’t the reason for the suit.

There’s also a media-rights deal to run for another 13 years, plus steep costs to leave the conference. The lawsuit describes a “withdrawal penalty” of $130 million.

Florida State University sues the Atlantic Coast Conference over more than 'travesty' playoff decision
FILE – Florida State players pose after defeating Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Erik Verduzco, File)

FSU has been a member of the ACC for more than 30 years but there have been rumors the school would rather be in the Southeastern Conference like their rivals, the Florida Gators, or even the Big Ten. Both of those conferences have far-richer television deals.

University president Richard McCullough said the lawsuit is the only “way to maximize our potential as an athletics department.”

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips and Jim Ryan, chairman of the ACC Board of Directors, quickly issued a statement that said FSU’s decision “is in direct conflict with their long-standing obligations and is a clear violation of their legal commitments to the other members of the conference.”

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Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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