Clemson Tigers [1296x729]
Clemson Tigers [1296x729] (Credit: Icon Sportswire)

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The stalemate between the ACC and the two schools challenging its grant of rights continued Wednesday when a North Carolina judge denied Clemson's motion to dismiss the ACC countersuit, meaning the two sides will proceed to trial in two separate jurisdictions.

Judge Louis Bledsoe, who is also overseeing the ACC's suit against Florida State, ruled that the ACC did have jurisdiction to file its suit in a Mecklenburg County court. Clemson had aimed to have the suit stayed or dismissed based on a sovereign immunity claim.

"The only court that has jurisdiction over FSU, Clemson, and the ACC -- and thus the only court that can assure a consistent, uniform interpretation of the Grant of Rights Agreements and the ACC's Constitution and Bylaws, the determinations at the core of the Pending Actions -- is a North Carolina court," Bledsoe wrote in his decision.

Florida State made the same claim as Clemson in March, and Bledsoe also denied the Seminoles' motion. The major difference in the two cases is that the ACC filed its suit against FSU before the Seminoles filed theirs in Florida, whereas Clemson was first to the courthouse in its attempt to nullify the league's grant of rights.

"We are pleased with today's ruling as it confirms that only a North Carolina court can render a decision that would apply to both Clemson and Florida State. The opinion also reinforces what the ACC has clearly articulated from day one -- the North Carolina courts are the proper place to enforce and interpret the ACC's agreements," the ACC said in a statement.

"As the court found, Clemson does not challenge whether the ACC Grant of Rights is valid or enforceable. This recognizes the ACC's consistent position that the 2013 and 2016 Grant of Rights are valid and enforceable agreements that each of our members entered into voluntarily, with full knowledge of their terms."

The latest ruling means all four cases will proceed in three different jurisdictions: Florida State vs. the ACC in Leon County, Florida, and Clemson vs. the ACC in Pickens County, South Carolina -- which both aim to test the league's ability to enforce its grant of rights -- and the ACC's suits against Florida State and Clemson, both in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, which aim to uphold the grant of rights.

In his ruling, Bledsoe suggested a consolidation of all four suits adjudicated in North Carolina would be the most logical step forward to provide a binding resolution.

Clemson has repeatedly said its lawsuit is not an explicit move to depart the ACC but rather to determine the cost of such a move. The league's grant of rights ostensibly requires any school departing the conference to give up its media rights for home games until 2036 as well as paying an exit fee equal to three times annual revenue. Florida State's representatives have suggested this could amount to as much as $700 million. Clemson argues in its suit that, among other things, the grant of rights no longer applies once the school chooses to leave the conference.

Bledsoe did rule in Clemson's favor on several smaller issues, dismissing the ACC's claims that Clemson breached its fiduciary duties and acted in bad faith by filing its own lawsuits.

Clemson and the ACC are due in court Friday in Pickens County for another hearing.