The messy break up between Maryland and the ACC took another turn on Monday night with a $157 million countersuit against the conference.
The suit, filed by the state attorney general's office on behalf of the University of Maryland in a North Carolina court, alleges that two ACC schools attempted to recruit Big Ten members into switching conferences and the league has violated Maryland Antitrust laws. Maryland claims that the ACC's actions were "unlawful and tortious" and "constitute an illegal restraint of trade, unfair competition, and unfair or deceptive trade practices."
Maryland is seeking $157 million from the ACC -- according to the suit, $156,799,026 is "three times the amount of compensatory damages."
More details, via the Washington Post:
According to Maryland's countersuit, a representative from Wake Forest and a representative from Pittsburgh "each contacted a Big Ten university in an attempt by the ACC to recruit at least two Big Ten schools to leave the Big Ten and join the ACC." Maryland alleges that "these actions by the ACC were designed by the ACC to enable the ACC (and member universities) to extract more lucrative terms from potential broadcast partners, including from ESPN," which provided "counsel and direction."
The specific Big Ten schools were not named in Maryland counterclaim, although it did say that "the ACC did not attempt to recruit for membership in the ACC any university west of the Mississippi," which rules out Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. A spokesman for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General declined to provide the names of the targeted Big Ten schools when asked via e-mail, citing privacy reasons but implying they could eventually be revealed during the discovery or trial phase of the legal process.
Maryland and the ACC have been in a legal battle since 2012, filing competing lawsuits and requests for dismissal in both Maryland and Greensboro, N.C., the location of the ACC offices.
"Our lawyers will take care of that, it's not something I'm going to get in to," ACC commissioner John Swofford told David Glenn, host of the David Glenn Show, on Tuesday. "[The lawsuit is] really not that different than what was thrown out of court in the state of Maryland. Of course, jurisdictionally the case will now be heard in North Carolina. I'll leave it at that and you can read between the lines."
Since the Maryland announced its plans to join the Big Ten, the ACC has allegedly excluded Maryland president Wallace Loh from meetings and withheld NCAA money -- the counterclaim reportedly seeks $16 million in withheld money -- from the school.
Maryland is will officially join the Big Ten this summer, beginning league play in the 2014-15 academic year.