FSU and Clemson's ACC departures 'only a matter of time and legalities'

Sep 23, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Barrett Carter (0) defends
Sep 23, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Barrett Carter (0) defends / David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

FSU and Clemson's departures from the ACC are, as USA Today's Dan Wolke put it, "only a matter of time and legalities."

"In the political realm that seems to dominate so much of the conversation in college sports right now, these have not been great times for Phillips," Wolke wrote. "His conference has been relegated to second-class status in recent College Football Playoff expansion negotiations, having been strong-armed by the SEC and Big Ten into accepting a lower share of revenue that used to be split equally among the Power Five.

"Meanwhile, the ACC is being sued by Florida State and Clemson over language in the document that binds them to the league through 2036, suggesting their departure is only a matter of time and legalities."

FSU leaving ACC already confirmed in legal documents, Clemson likely to follow

For further proof the marriage between the ACC and FSU -- and after a matter of time and litigation, Clemson too eventually -- is about to dissolve, look no further than the phrase "after FSU exits the ACC" being found several times in a court filing obtained by On3 on March 27 in Leon County, Florida.

"While Florida State and ACC officials wait for a North Carolina judge to rule on whether their case should proceed there, FSU’s attorneys on Wednesday filed a new response in Leon County Circuit Court accusing the conference of several 'misrepresentations' to the court and also making it plainly clear that the Seminoles are planning to leave the league," Warchant's Ira Schoffel prefaced before saying, "In three different paragraphs in the 10-page filing, which was obtained by Warchant late Wednesday, the attorneys use a version of the phrase, 'after FSU exits the ACC,' as if it is a foregone conclusion."

The ACC lost its bargaining power when the Seminoles missed the College Football Playoff after a 13-0 season that saw them win the ACC Championship. Adding the least-impactful schools to switch conferences of any with Cal and Stanford -- SMU is actually a sneaky good play, especially getting them essentially for free -- cemented the conference as secondary, and losing FSU and Clemson is a narrative death sentence.

There's no way back. The ACC as we know it is going down the same path as the Pac-12, and though it may not die, it will never be a Power conference like it was.