A North Carolina court ruling could result in Maryland having to pay the full $52 million fee for leaving the ACC to join the Big Ten.
The ACC and Maryland have competing litigation in regards to the fee that should be assessed for leaving the conference. Maryland argues that the figure, which represents three times the conference's operating budget, does not represent the damages caused by the Terps' exit.
Maryland made a bid to dismiss the ACC's suit, filed in North Carolina on Nov. 26, 2012. The school's attorneys argued that the case should be dismissed because the school is an arm of the state, and "Maryland and other states enjoy sovereign immunity that protects them from lawsuits."
North Carolina's Court of Appeals rejected that argument in its Tuesday ruling.
"The ACC alleges that the University of Maryland's withdrawal from the ACC subjects them to a mandatory withdrawal payment in the amount of $52,266,342," a three-judge appeals court panel said in its decision today.
Maryland filed a competing suit against the ACC in Prince George's County. That case was put on hold until the North Carolina Court of Appeals reached a decision.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland's attorney general's office released a brief statement after today's decision:
"We are reviewing the North Carolina appeals court decision and Maryland is considering its options," the statement read.
Maryland is scheduled to leave the ACC and become an official member of the Big Ten in July. Louisville will take the Terps' place in the ACC Atlantic Division after the official move from the American Athletic Conference this summer.