Florida State president Dr. Eric Barron has written a memo obtained by ESPN that includes four key points that would support a move from the ACC to the Big 12 and seven longer key points that argue against it:
I want to assure you that any decision made about FSU athletics will be
reasoned and thoughtful and based on athletics, finances and academics.
Allow me to provide you with some of the issues we are facing:
In support of a move are four basic factors argued by many alumni:
1. The ACC is more basketball than it is football, and many of our alumni
view us as more football oriented than the ACC
2. The ACC is too North Carolina centric and the contract advantages
basketball and hence advantages the North Carolina schools
3. The Big 12 has some big football schools that match up with FSU
4. The Big 12 contract (which actually isn't signed yet) is rumored to be
$2.9M more per year than the ACC contract. We need this money to be
But, in contrast:
1. The information presented about the ACC contract that initiated the
blogosphere discussion was not correct. The ACC is an equal share
conference and this applies to football and to basketball -- there is no
preferential treatment of any university with the exception of 3rd tier
rights for women's basketball and Olympic sports. FSU is advantaged by
that aspect of the contract over the majority of other ACC schools.
2. Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M left the Big 12, at least in
part because the Big 12 is not an equal share conference. Texas has
considerably more resource avenues and gains a larger share (and I say
this as a former dean of the University of Texas at Austin - I watched the
Big 12 disintegration with interest). So, when fans realize that Texas
would get more dollars than FSU, always having a competitive advantage, it
would be interesting to see the fan reaction.
3. Much is being made of the extra $2.9M that the Big 12 contract (which
hasn't been inked yet) gets over the ACC contract. Given that the Texas
schools are expected to play each other (the Big 12 is at least as Texas
centered than the ACC is North Carolina centered), the most likely
scenario has FSU playing Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and West
Virginia on a recurring basis and the other teams sporadically (and one
more unnamed team has to join to allow the Big 12 to regain a championship
game), we realize that our sports teams can no longer travel by bus to
most games -- the estimate is that the travel by plane required by FSU to
be in the Big 12 appears to exceed the $2.9M difference in the contract --
actually giving us fewer dollars than we have now to be competitive with
the Big 12 teams, who obviously do not have to travel as far. Any
renegotiated amount depends not just on FSU but the caliber of any other
new team to the Big 12.
4. Few believe that the above teams will fill our stadium with fans of
these teams and so our lack of sales and ticket revenue would continue.
5. We would lose the rivalry with University of Miami that does fill our
6. It will cost between $20M and $25M to leave the ACC -- we have no idea
where that money would come from. It would have to come from the Boosters
which currently are unable to support our current University athletic
budget, hence the 2% cut in that budget.
7. The faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is
academically weaker -- and in fact, many of them resent the fact that a 2%
($2.4M) deficit in the athletics budget receives so much attention from
concerned Seminoles, but the loss of 25% of the academic budget (105M)
gets none when it is the most critical concern of this University in terms
of its successful future.
I present these issues to you so that you realize that this is not so
simple (not to mention that negotiations aren't even taking place). One
of the few wise comments made in the blogosphere is that no one negotiates
their future in the media. We can't afford to have conference affiliation
be governed by emotion -- it has to be based on a careful assessment of
athletics, finances and academics. I assure you that every aspect of
conference affiliation will be looked at by this institution, but it must
be a reasoned decision.