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College football expansion update: Florida State to start process of leaving ACC right away

Florida State officials intend to challenge the ACC and its grant of rights agreement that expires in 2036 with an eye towards joining a different conference
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Florida State is entering the transfer portal: The next phase in college football conference realignment appears to be on the horizon as key players inside Florida State have come to the opinion that the school needs to challenge the ACC's grant of rights agreement and start the process to formally leave the conference in the future.

At a board of trustees meeting on Friday morning, FSU officials unanimously agreed to file a complaint against the ACC to challenge the conference's grant of rights agreement with the intention of exiting the conference.

Florida State says it intends to file the complaint in a circuit court in Tallahassee on Friday.

"After exploring all options, I feel we are left with only this option as a way to maximize our potential as an athletic department and it's best for Florida State University," school president Richard McCullough said at the meeting, adding that he has been performing due diligence about the process for a year.

He added: "I wish we were in a different position and a different place. But we are not. We need to do what's best for this university and for our athletic department."

Florida State athletic director Michael Alford noted, "This isn't a relationship decision or an issue at all. It's a simple math problem. A very clear math problem."

"It really points to the mismanagement of previous conference administration in stewarding future finances for our best interests," Alford added.

Some of the math that will come with leaving the ACC for the school? According to an estimate presented to the board during the meeting, Florida State believes it will cost around $572 million for the school in both exit fees and getting out of the grant of rights agreement in total. But it's a cost the school is willing to pay.

As long as Florida State tells the ACC it intends to leave the conference before August, the earliest the school can leave would be June 30, 2025, and could join a new conference by July 1, 2025.

It has been known for some time that Florida State was not pleased with the financial situation in the ACC. This offseason, it was revealed to be one of the so-called "Magnificent Seven" schools that were scouting a possible exit from the ACC's grant of rights agreement that expires in 2036.

Florida State board chair Peter Collins said he believes the school has no other option than to challenge the ACC grant of rights agreement and make a change.

“Today we’ve reached a crossroads in our relationship with he ACC," Collins said. "I believe this board is left with no choice but to challenge the Grant of Rights."

Collins finished by telling Florida State's attorney: "Please move forward and file the lawsuit."

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