While chatter about the possibility that Florida St. has been looking to leave the ACC has swirled on message boards and blogs for months, the theories no longer seem so conspiratorial after the head of the school’s board of trustees lambasted the conference Saturday and indicated the Seminoles are interested in the Big 12.
In an interview with Warchant.com, Florida State Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard said the latest media deal with ESPN demonstrated the ACC’s favoritism for its basketball powers in North Carolina. If you’ve been scoffing at the idea that the ‘Noles would ever move to the Big 12, allow Haggard to disabuse you of that notion: “On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State’s best interest.”
The ACC’s supposed trump card in the classroom doesn’t sound like such a big selling point to Haggard, either: “No FSU graduate puts on his resume or interviews for a job saying they are in the same conference as Duke and Virginia. Conference affiliation really has no impact on academics.”
With the FSU athletic department looking for ways to fill the $2.5 million hole in its budget, a conference that can offer $3 million more per year from its TV deal to go along with revenue from third-tier rights and a conference championship game. Additionally, assuming the new postseason model incorporates some kind of strength of schedule component, the Big 12 would appear to be in better shape than the ACC to achieve consistent access to college football’s pending “final four” tournament.
As we saw with the recent defections of Nebraska, Missouri, Texas A&M and Colorado from the Big 12, these kinds of moves can gather steam quickly. On the other hand, there’s still a long road to go before something like this progresses from real talk to really happening. Less than a year ago, most of the sporting world assumed Oklahoma and Texas would be ditching the Big 12 for the West Coast.
Either way, get ready for yet another realignment-licious summer.