Posted January 14, 2014

Maryland countersuit claims ACC recruited Big Ten members

Randy Edsall and Maryland celebrated the school's plans to join the Big Ten.  (Baltimore Sun/Getty Images)

Randy Edsall and Maryland celebrated the school’s plans to join the Big Ten. (Baltimore Sun/Getty Images)

Maryland has filed a $157 million counter lawsuit against the Atlantic Coast Conference in which the former conference member alleges ACC schools attempted to recruit two Big Ten members.

Maryland, which leaves the ACC in July, is seeking $157 million in damages from the ACC for alleged violations of Maryland antitrust laws, and $16 million the school claims has been improperly withheld since Maryland announced its move to the Big Ten in November 2012.

While the millions in damages are significant, the 53-page document includes a twist to college football recent conference realignment dramas. Maryland alleges athletic department representatives from Pittsburgh and Wake Forest attempted to recruit a pair of Big Ten schools to join the ACC. Maryland does not identify the Big Ten schools it claims were recruited.

From Yahoo Sports:

“Our lawsuit calls the ACC’s ‘exit fee’ what it really is — an antitrust violation and an illegal activity,” Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler said in a statement. “Our motion in North Carolina will ensure that a Maryland court will rule on the case.”

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Maryland’s lawsuit counters the ACC asking a North Carolina court in 2012 to declare that Maryland is subject to the full exit fee of $52,266,342 for leaving the conference.