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FSU still trying to get out of the Grant of Rights

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2024 3:19 pm

FSU still trying to get out of the Grant of Rights

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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January 2, 2024 3:19 pm

Wit Minter, NIL Attorney/Sports Law, on Florida State’s lawsuit and attempt to get out of the Grant or Right/ACC.

Will THIS matter for FSU when it comes to getting out of the Grants of Rights with the ACC? What kind of argument is FSU bringing that may or may not help them out in their lawsuit? Why have so many schools in the past not tried to challenge it sooner, if it’s a possibility? Is it possible they wouldn’t have a home if FSU was actually able to get out of this agreement? Would another conference be in any legal troubles if they were to invite FSU to their conference? What did no one ever see happening, but currently is, which could influence what happens with FSU’s lawsuit? Does Mit believe that if FSU leaves, other schools in the ACC could follow suit?

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Right. Of course you did. And I had a conversation with my friend David Teel works in Virginia, the dean of ACC Reporters. And I asked him after the Florida State lawsuit was made public, even though the ACC beat them to it, I texted David. I said, Dave, who would be a good guy to talk to?

Who do you talk to? He goes, well, I don't know, but you should just read what this guy, Mitt Winter, has to say. And I've been following, I've followed Mitt Winter for a while and it's just very cool. And here he is, Mitt Winter, sports attorney, NIL attorney, and I believe an expert in this field.

And he joins us on the Adam Gold Show. Your mistake. You follow me on Twitter. Thank you very much. Happy New Year to you. Yeah. Thanks for having me on.

Happy New Year to you as well. All right. Let me this is the thing that really to me is not sure why we haven't had it yet. It seems, I think, in the mind of Florida State, pretty simple. The grant of rights is, I guess, illegal. They didn't say unconstitutional, but and they want out where where do you stand on their demand?

That's a good question. It's sort of an unprecedented situation. No one's ever challenged a conference grant of rights agreement like this before.

So I think it's really hard to handicap how it's all going to turn out. They make some interesting arguments at a base level, kind of as you touched on. They're basically saying, yeah, we signed this document. We know what it says. Despite that, we think this agreement that we signed is not enforceable for various reasons. They say it violates Florida antitrust law, that it's an unenforceable penalty. They even say it's it's not really a contract at all because they didn't receive in legal terms.

Let's call it consideration for entering into the agreement. I think they just, you know, through every argument they could think of that might have any chance of success into their complaint. Now, on the other side, you have the ACC, who is, as you noted, beat them to the courthouse by a day. Unbeknownst to everyone until after Florida State filed their lawsuit, unless you were scanning court dockets. They're saying the Florida state, per the terms of the granted rights agreement, can't even challenge the enforceability of the agreement.

So they're saying you can't challenge it. Florida State saying, well, it's not it's not a valid enforceable agreement, which sets up an interesting showdown. And the first question we have is what court's going to hear these arguments? Is it going to be the court in North Carolina or the court in Florida?

That's going to be a first battle that we have. Do you think it matters? I think it definitely matters, especially when you're talking about state court, which both of these cases have been filed in. There is such a thing in a court as home court advantage. I think the judge down in Florida might be a Florida State alum, if I'm remembering correctly. So, you know, subconsciously that that can probably have some effect. I don't know who the judge is in North Carolina that got assigned to the ACC lawsuit. But it always everybody always wants to have home court advantage in a lawsuit, especially when you're talking about state court.

So I think it does matter. What is the more talk? We're talking with Mitt Winter, sports attorney here at Winter Sports Law on Twitter.

If you want to follow NIL issues, also a great follow there. If we have time, we'll get to some of that. The fact that Florida State willingly. And by the way, this was back in what, 2016, the grant of rights was agreed to by members of the ACC. The fact that they willingly signed this now, what, seven years ago.

What what does that say? How does that impact their ability to legally argue this? I don't think it has a huge effect on it, actually, because they're saying, although we signed it, we signed an agreement that's not enforceable. So the fact that you that you sign something, even though the thing you signed is illegal, which is what they're contending, doesn't matter if you signed it willingly or not.

If you saw it, if they if they're declaring it not enforceable. Why have however many schools, legal teams looked at this grant of rights every from every possible angle and not challenged it sooner? Because despite the number of arguments they have in their complaint, it's not clear that any of those arguments are going to be successful. And to get involved in litigation like this with ACC is going to be, number one, costly. Number two, it's going to damage or kill the relationship between your school and the conference and your other conference members.

And if you're going to do something like this, it would probably make sense to do it. If you know you have a guaranteed home as a conference after you go through this process. And I don't think any of the current ACC schools have gotten far enough down conversations with other conferences to have that any assurance like that, which is I'm sure Florida State, if they're able to get out of the grant of rights agreements, agreement will find a home. But I don't know if currently if they were able to get out tomorrow, if they would have a home. Mitt Winner is joining us here.

He's a sports attorney here on the Adam Gold Show. Are with the Big Ten or the SEC the only two? It wouldn't make any sense for Florida State to beg out of the ACC to go to the Big 12.

It would not improve their financial stake. But would would the Big Ten or the SEC be in any legal jeopardy if they then invited Florida State to their league? So in all this conference, realignment stuff, people always.

Make claims of an art of a legal claim that's called torsions interference, basically, when there's a contract between two parties, if you're a third party and you come in and you induce one party to breach their agreement, you can be held liable for that. I doubt in this situation, if Florida State is able to get out of the grant of rights agreement and go to the Big Ten or the SEC, I doubt the ACC is going to come in and accuse one of those two conferences of inducing Florida State to to leave the ACC and breach its agreement with the ACC. Number one, it probably wouldn't be successful if Florida State is successful in its arguments that the grant of rights agreement isn't valid. It's also a hard claim to prove generally the way it works in the conference realignment situations.

There's no invite extended until the conference. The other school has already reached out to the other conference and said, hey, we would like to become a member, which eliminates that torsion interference argument. But it does get thrown around a lot in conference realignment situations. But I can't think of a situation where another conference has sued a different conference in that context. Now, because in in most cases, when we have had these things happen, the the schools aren't leaving until the end of their current deals.

Right. Southern Cal and UCLA weren't going to leave until the end of the PAC 12 agreement. Same thing with Texas and Oklahoma, although they were allowed out, I believe a year early from the existing deals, because that was a negotiated exit strategy or exit settlement with the big 12. This is certainly would be a hostile maneuver by Florida State is ultimately, do you think their goal to simply negotiate an exit from the ACC? And I have a follow up to that. But so let's just handle that first part. You think they're just trying to negotiate a number here?

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Again, that's Body with an I dot com. I think so. I mean, obviously they would love it if a court said the grant of rights agreement is not enforceable. I think realistically, they think that's probably a long shot.

Right. And so they're hoping that by starting this process, filing this lawsuit, that it brings the ACC to the table and they're able to work out some sort of agreement, sort of like you saw with Oklahoma and Texas working out an agreement to leave the Big 12 a year early. Obviously, this is a little different situation because the grant of rights agreement goes till 2036, which is a lot longer than Oklahoma and Texas had left on theirs with the Big 12. And I also think another factor is the ACC just saw what happened with the Pac 12. No one thought the Pac 12 would cease to exist as a conference until it happened. And I said, I think with seeing that the ACC is probably going to fight a little bit harder with Florida State than they otherwise might have, just because they know if they let Florida State out could start a domino effect of some other school saying, well, they did it right.

We're going to do it, too. Then the ACC could be on shaky ground as a conference and that they obviously don't want that to happen. If the ACC negotiates a essentially an exit for Florida State, does it just ultimately open the door for other? And I would even argue more attractive to the Big 10 and possibly the SEC schools. North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, maybe Clemson, does it open the door for them to also leave?

I think so, at least to start that process. I mean, you already touched on it. Some other schools have already talked about getting out of the grants to right agreement, examined it. So they've thought about it. They just haven't taken the plunge like Florida State has now. And so Florida State's able to get out. It's probably going to increase their willingness to pursue that as well.

Final thing about this, and I want to ask an NIL question before we let Mitt Winter go. For those people who don't know, grant of rights, basically all schools grant their media rights to the league to do what they want with until the culmination of the 2036, I guess, 2035-36 academic season. And what that means is that if Florida State were to end up in another league, that media rights money would go back to the ACC. That's what the grant of rights says. So considering that we've got, what, 13 years, 13 seasons between now and then, if Florida State does negotiate their way out, is it a minimum of half a billion dollars if you're the ACC?

I mean, you could certainly make it painful to the point where there's no way to recover from that. Yeah, I mean, I don't know what the exact number would be if I'm the ACC, but it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars for sure. And I think that's one reason you've seen some talk out there that Florida State might take some private equity money to make this happen. And, you know, people have been talking about private equity getting into college sports for a while, and they're definitely interested in doing it.

So maybe we'll see it happen here. Hey, the Public Investment Fund, they haven't done their deal with the PGA Tour yet. Maybe we can get, Florida State can be bankrolled by them.

Alright, real, it's just been my running joke. I tried to convince Jim Phillips, the ACC commissioner at Operation Football this year, live ACC football, who's going to say no with all the money? It's because all it's about is money. It was a joke.

I don't know if it's probably in poor taste. Alright, real quick, because we have all these opt-outs, and you're an NIL guy, we have all these opt-outs from the bowl games, and there are, I think, two solutions. One is to change the bowl calendar to make it maybe the beginning of a season as opposed to the end of a season, although that's not great either. How far would collective bargaining among the schools and the players go to at least addressing, I don't know about solving, but addressing so many of the issues? Yeah, we're talking about collective bargaining. In that scenario, the athletes would be employees of either schools or their team. There are certain scenarios where teams might break off from the university but still be affiliated with the university, and the athletes could be employees of those entities. In that situation, they're going to have an employment contract that says, here's what you have to do under the terms of your employment contract.

If you don't fulfill those terms, here are the consequences. I think in a situation like that, it could probably help in some of the opt-out things, because guys wouldn't be getting paid, theoretically, some of the money they're owed under their employment contract if they don't play in the bowl games, or they could be forfeiting a big bonus that they otherwise would get if they're playing in a bowl game. Kind of on that same note, one potential way, short of collective bargaining and employment status, is to let the bowls pay bonuses to the athletes if they play in the game. That could probably help as well.

Yeah, I don't know that there's any amount of money that you can convince me to play in the Mayonnaise Bowl if I'm going to be a first or second day pick in the NFL Draft, but yeah, there's a lot of players beyond that who opt out of bowl games. Mitt Winter, at Winter Sports Law on Twitter. I appreciate your time, sir. It was good to make the connection.

Hopefully you weren't too put off by all this. We'll do it again. Yeah, thanks for having me on anytime. Love talking about this stuff, so feel free to reach out again. You got it. Thank you very much, sir.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 17:29:21 / 2024-01-02 17:36:13 / 7

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