What does the Grant of Rights mean for the ACC?

What does the Grant of Rights mean for the ACC?


What does the Grant of Rights mean for the ACC?


Outgoing Florida State President, John Thrasher, feels Clemson and Florida State have to be prepared for what is next in the ever-changing landscape of college athletics.

The FSU President told the Tallahassee Democrat on Thursday he is concerned about the Seminoles’ future. And though he wants to stay in the ACC, he thinks it would be wise that his school be prepared not to be left behind in light of the news that Oklahoma and Texas will join the SEC.

The SEC formally extended membership invitations to Texas and Oklahoma on Thursday.

Thrasher mentioned conversations with FSU director of athletics David Coburn and ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips about the recent move and keeping the Seminoles relevant.

“My point to David Coburn and to Jim Phillips is I don’t want Florida State to be left behind. I consider us as part of the ACC, but I also know that we have a marquee name, Clemson has a marquee name,” Thrasher said. “I think there might be people coming after us, I don’t know, but we’ve got to be prepared no matter what the options are.”

If the SEC or someone else does come after Clemson and Florida State, can they go?

Since news broke last week that that Oklahoma and Texas were leaving the Big 12 Conference and were headed to the SEC, The Clemson Insider has spoken with several administrators inside the ACC.

One of the things we wanted to get clarity on was just how strong the conference’s Grant of Rights was and could another conference come and poach one or several of its member institutions.

As most know, the ACC’s Grant of Rights runs through the year 2036. TCI was told it is the legal backdrop to the notion of cohesion the ACC has.

“That is a strength for sure,” an ACC source told us.

If a team wanted to leave a conference to join another, there are two things that are going to happen, and it depends on how the bylaws are written for the conference. Keep in mind, it is different for every conference.

One of the bylaws that are written is for exiting the conference. Call it a fine or a penalty. That is one piece. Seemingly, that is more of a math problem — here is what the exit process is.

The second part that exists for all conferences is the Grant of Rights. That is where the ACC is different and is strong in the sense that those Grant of Rights run through 2036.

There are two elements to any exit. One is a financial exit bylaw, and the other is the Grant of Rights contract. Two separate things, but both have to be accomplished in some form or fashion.

In theory, a school could lose a hefty amount of money through the Grant of Rights if they left a conference, but we were told that is not likely how anything would come to fruition.

It is hard envisioning a scenario where a school leaves a conference, but that conference still holds the rights. They are competing in another league and their inventory and TV money goes to their old league. That is just not functional.

A school is either leaving with its rights or not. And the Grant of Rights for the ACC say everyone’s rights are there through 2036.

A school could fight against the Grant of Rights in court. We may see a precedent set for that if the Big 12 goes to court.

The exit penalty, there is a math problem to it. There are numbers. It is calculable. The Grant of Rights, there are no numbers in the Grant of Rights or any dollar figures. It is all just rights. It is black and white.  Those rights of course translate to dollars.

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