On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 247Sports reported that Florida State University filed a writ of certiorari with the North Carolina Supreme Court seeking review of a lower court ruling in an ongoing legal battle with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The dispute stems from FSU’s announcement on December 21, 2023, that it intended to leave the ACC for the Southeastern Conference. Hours after the announcement, the ACC filed a lawsuit against FSU in North Carolina business court without obtaining approval from its full membership as required by league bylaws.

FSU responded by filing a motion to dismiss or stay the North Carolina proceeding in favor of a case it had initiated in Leon County, Florida circuit court just days prior. In April, Mecklenburg County Business Court Judge Louis Bledsoe denied FSU’s request for a stay.

In its nearly 600-page petition submitted to the North Carolina Supreme Court this week, FSU argues Judge Bledsoe misapplied state law in refusing to grant the stay. The university claims the ACC lacked standing to sue under North Carolina and national precedent, as it failed to adhere to its own constitutional requirements of obtaining membership approval before filing a preemptive lawsuit.

FSU also asserts the ACC engaged in impermissible “forum shopping” by rushing to file in North Carolina ahead of the Florida case that encompasses many of the same issues between the same parties.

The filing delves deep into jurisdictional questions and sovereign immunity defenses available to the state university. It criticizes as lacking substantive evidence the ACC’s claim that members retroactively approved the legal action in January. FSU is seeking extraordinary review from the state supreme court prior to appealing separate issues to that body later.

The core legal dispute straddles complex intersections of contract law, organizational governance, and the autonomy of a major public university. As $700 million in future conference revenues are potentially at stake, the high-profile case could have ramifications for collegiate athletics realignment and litigation nationwide.



Source: 247Sports