A North Carolina appeals court is clearing the way for a lawsuit that could force the University of Maryland to pay a $52 million fee for leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference. A Court of Appeals panel rejected Maryland's bid to dismiss the lawsuit filed in the ACC's headquartes city of Greensboro. The three judge panel's unanimous decision means Maryland has no automatic right to a state Supreme Court appeal. The ACC sued Maryland after the school said in November a year ago it's leaving for the Big Ten Conference. The university responded by suing the ACC in Maryland in January, calling the amount an illegal penalty. A Maryland judge has put the school's lawsuit on hold until North Carolina courts issue a final judgment. Maryland's ACC departure is scheduled for July.