Leon County Judge Could Order ACC To Disclose Pivotal Documents To FSU Legal Team

Florida State University and the ACC traded lawsuits in December.
Florida State University President Richard McCullough speaks at his State of the University Address. Nov. 2023.
Florida State University President Richard McCullough speaks at his State of the University Address. Nov. 2023. / Florida State University Instagram

Leon County Judge John C. Cooper could order the Atlantic Coast Conference to disclose six documents – including the “ESPN Agreement” – exclusively to the Florida State University legal team, per the Tallahassee Democrat. FSU and the ACC came together to request that both parties be able to view these documents. Once (and if) the documents are approved by Judge Cooper, they cannot be disclosed to the public and must be returned or destroyed in 60 days. In the current form of the proposal, the documents will be unredacted. Details of the order can be modified before Judge Cooper signs off on the order.

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It appears Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) will have to wait longer to see the elusive Grant of Rights arrangements.

The proposal states, “The purpose of this Order is for the ESPN Agreements to be treated as confidential in their entirety until this Court has had an opportunity to consider the parties' respective positions about which provisions of the ESPN Agreement are due protection and to determine the scope and extent of those protections.”

A signature from Judge Cooper seems to be a huge step in the right direction for Florida State. It appeared one of the main goals of the ACC was to keep the documents under wraps – presumably to bar FSU from finding any loopholes, preserving the “ironclad” status of the Grant of Rights Agreement. Simultaneously, it would maintain the “trade secrets” that ESPN, the ACC, the Big 10, the Big 12, and the SEC have fought to keep private despite legal action from AG Moody in her quest to make the documents public due to the Sunshine Laws in the State of Florida.

AG Moody claims that since Florida State is a public university, any contracts or agreement documents should be public record. This goes against the ruling of Mecklenburg County Judge Louis A. Bledsoe III, who claims FSU waived its “sovereign immunity” in its dealings with the ACC.

This is a developing story.

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Jackson Bakich


Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the Sunshine State, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.