Clemson Athletics preparing for legal action against the Atlantic Coast Conference

Yahoo's Ross Dellinger has stated that his sources confirmed that Clemson is preparing to take legal action against the ACC, but timetable for such action is still unknown.
Eakin Howard/GettyImages

The legal matters between the Atlantic Coast Conference and Florida State have had the attention of all of the members of the conference, including Clemson.

It has been generally thought that the Tigers are of a similar mindset to FSU and that they would be better off in another conference, but Clemson has pursued a different strategy. Athletic Director Graham Neff and the Clemson Board of Trustees have elected to handle business behind the scenes, while the Seminoles have taken a much more public stance.

The absence of a Clemson lawsuit against the ACC has had many observers believing they were waiting to see how the matters between the ACC and FSU played out, despite the reality that such things could take years to settle completely.

According to Yahoo’s Ross Dellinger, his sources indicate that this is not necessarily the case. Per Dellinger, Clemson is preparing for their own legal action.

"Attorneys for Clemson have spent the last several months gearing up for legal action of their own, sources with knowledge of the discussions told Yahoo Sports."

Ross Dellinger

While Dellinger does not say that his sources have any knowledge of a timetable, he does not indicate that any action by the Tigers is dependent on the outcome of the proceedings between the Seminoles and the ACC, which is playing out in courts in both Florida and North Carolina, the corporate home of the conference.

Dellinger does indicate that the outcome of efforts by Florida State and Clemson could open the door for other schools (North Carolina mentioned specifically) to challenge the ACC’s Grant of Rights contract, which generally locks up each school’s television rights for another decade.

Clemson was part of the Magnificent Seven that met to discuss the ACC Grant of Rights last year

Dellinger also mentions Magnificent Seven, which met last year to discuss options to leave the conference, questioning if they could potentially withdraw to form a smaller conference that could pay more per school than the current ACC model, which will include 17 full-time schools in 2024, with Notre Dame as a non-football member.

ESPN will no doubt play a role in this story. They have a contract with the ACC that lasts until 2036, but they can exit earlier. The network can end their partnership with the conference in 2027. ESPN must decide if they want to opt out by February 2025.