Castleman D. Chesley declared an end yesterday to 24 years of producing Atlantic Coast Conference basketball (and football) telecasts. So much for the C. D. Chesley Co.'s exclusive contract, over which Raycom Inc. of Charlotte sued last week.
ACC Commissioner Bob James said at the conference's spring meeting in Myrtle Beach, S.C., that Chesley was "retiring" and was released from the contract, which has a year remaining.
Chesley retorted later: "I have not retired from producing sports television and it is with reluctance I gave up my contract with the conference."
Chesley made no mention of the lawsuit but cited a clamor among member universities "for higher rights fees from me while at the same time side deals were being made . . . with other networks and television producers which diminished the number of games available for me to telecast," as well as incipient conditions that "would force us to diminish the quality of the product."
"We honored his request," said ACC spokesman Skeeter Francis, "and at the present time the ACC does not have a producer for its regional TV package. But bids will be solicited and we hope to have the situation solved shortly."
The ACC does have, after yesterday's sessions, a president for the next year -- Charles A. Taff, Maryland faculty supervisor of athletics -- and March 5-7 dates for its 1982 basketball tournament in Greensboro -- four games Friday; afternoon doubleheader Saturday; final Sunday afternoon.