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Should Florida State look to leave the ACC?

May 15, 2012
  • Florida State's Rashad Gholston flips over backward after catching a touchdown pass during a spring football game.
Florida State's Rashad Gholston flips over backward after catching… (Phil Sears / Associated…)

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Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss recent reports that Florida State is considering leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big 12. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

Florida State to the Big 12 Conference? Are you kidding? Really? Maybe? Why not? Things are so fluid (as in leaking oil) in college football, it almost makes you laugh. Less than a year ago, the Big 12 was one chess move -- Texas to the Pac-12 -- from collapse. Its commissioner, Dan Beebe, was fired anyway.

And now the Big 12 is courting Florida State? My guess is Florida State will flirt with the Big 12 and stay in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said the story had "no traction" and everyone knows Dodds is the real Big 12 commissioner.

Still, you can't help but note the rich irony here. It was the ACC, after all, that started this Roseanne Barr-esque off-key game of musical chairs by rudely raiding the Big East of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College. The formation of a "Super Conference" flopped because Miami and Florida State stopped winning national titles in football. That's right, FSU, the reason the ACC has become a conference you might consider leaving is your fault.

My advice: Get better in football and hope Miami does too. That would jack up the TV rights and makes more sense than dialing U-Haul or calling "at Kansas State" an important league game.

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel

It never hurts to explore the possibility of significantly improving yourself financially, as long as Florida State realizes that it is a major reason the ACC’s TV package is less lucrative than the SEC, Big 12, etc.  Let’s face it, if the Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes were the dominant programs they once were, the ACC wouldn’t be in the predicament it is in.

That said, FSU is in a financial bind and is surrounded on every side by big-budget SEC schools such as Florida, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.  The Seminoles need money -- and lots of it -- if they want to keep up.  Even though the ACC’s new deal with ESPN will bring FSU up to about $17 million annually in TV revenue, that’s still $3 million less than the Big 12. Not only that, but some estimate the recently expanded SEC’s new deal could earn each conference school as much as $25 million per year. Translation: Over the span of the ACC’s 15-year contract, FSU will earn $120 million less than the rival Gators.

That, in itself, is reason enough for FSU at least to explore leaving the ACC.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

Short answer: No. And, actually, if Florida State officials continue to chirp and try to spread misinformation about the ACC’s new media-rights deal with ESPN, I think the league should send the Seminoles to bed without dinner.

When will these schools learn that conference affiliation is about more than a money grab? OK, so the Big 12’s TV deal nets its schools perhaps $3 million a year more. And FSU trustees board chairman Andy Haggard thinks that parts of the new ACC deal favor the basketball-focused “North Carolina schools.”

The real issue seems to be mismanagement. Florida State has a $2.4 million budget shortfall in its athletic department. The solution is not to try to run to another conference, which would kill rivalries and force all of its athletes to take long, unnecessary flights.

The answer is to get your house in order.

[Updated at 1:39 p.m.:

Mike Berardino, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Should Florida State consider leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference after two decades as one of its leading members?

Certainly, FSU President Eric Barron owes it to his constituency to take a long, hard look at a potentially lucrative jump to the Big 12.

All those Texas-driven television dollars would send nearly $3 million more the Seminoles' way than they would earn by sticking with the ACC.

But that assumes ACC Commissioner John Swofford, among the sharpest in his field, won't find other methods of bridging that economic gap.

Travel costs would be much lower in the ACC than in the far-flung Big 12. And as much as the Garnet and Gold would love to plant its flag in the Lone Star State, leaving behind the natural tie-ins to nearby Atlanta (Georgia Tech) and Miami would come at a cost.

In the end, I say the 'Noles stay.]


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