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SBD/May 15, 2012/CollegesPrint All
Florida State Univ. President Eric Barron has written a memo 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,” according to Joe Schad of ESPN.com. The memo “seems to be an argument by Barron, who has stated the school is ‘committed’ to the ACC.” In support of changing conferences, Barron said, "The ACC is too North Carolina centric," adding, "The Big 12 contract (which actually isn't signed yet) is rumored to be 2.9 M more per year than the ACC contract." In support of remaining in the ACC, he said, "The ACC is an equal share conference. ... 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." Barron also said that FSU "would lose the rivalry with University of Miami that does fill our stadium." He added, "It will cost between $20M and $25M to leave the ACC and we have no idea where that money would come from." Barron: "The faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker" (ESPN.com, 5/14). Barron also wrote that negotiations between the school and the Big 12 “are not taking place” (AP, 5/15). Read Barron's memo.
HEARSAY: Univ. of Texas men's AD DeLoss Dodds yesterday said there was "no traction" to the story of FSU jumping to the Big 12. Dodds: "There've been no conversations between Florida State and the Big 12.” He added that he “preferred to keep the league at its current 10 teams” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/15). FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher said, “We’re in the ACC. We’re happy to be here. … We have a good football conference” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/15). In Tallahassee, Jim Lamar notes Barron spent “at least part of his day trying to deliver a message to the university’s alumni, fans and other stakeholders.” Barron said, “I tried to let them know that this is a complicated issue.” He added, "I have no idea what the next few weeks or even days will bring. I know I have alumni irritated because they think I made up my mind. What I am trying to say is this is not some simple thing.” Barron continued, "It's amazing how many people will say to me, 'You don't understand. If you go to the Big 12, Clemson will go with you and so will Miami and you can play them.'” Barron asked, “How do you know that? How can you say that?” (TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, 5/15).
UNPRECEDENTED & UNWARRANTED: WARCHANT.com’s Williams & Reeves wrote “It's unprecedented for a university president to write a detailed response to fans on a subject like conference expansion when reportedly the two sides haven't even touched base.” Barron's memo “was so unorthodox that many fans originally thought it was a hoax” (WARCHANT.com, 5/14). In Virginia, David Teel wrote Barron’s statement was “beyond unusual for a university president -- silence may have been the more prudent course” (DAILYPRESS.com, 5/14). SI.com’s Andy Staples wrote Barron “seems intent on pumping the brakes on this process before it reaches move-or-else territory.” Staples: “No one has to make any decisions this week or even this month. But before the year is out, FSU's leaders will have to answer the questions of an increasingly aggravated fan base by either exploring the idea of another conference or by committing completely to the ACC” (SI.com, 5/14). NBCSPORTS.com’s John Taylor wrote Barron’s “commitment” to the ACC or reasons for remaining in their current conference “doesn’t ensure in any way, shape or form that FSU will or won’t remain in the ACC.” What it does, though, “is continue to highlight the divide between the upper levels of the university’s administration” (NBCSPORTS.com, 5/14).
SEMINOLES ARE NOT READY: ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich asked, “If Florida State is so desperate for more cash, then, how on earth is it going to afford the ACC's $20 million exit fee?” The conversation “should stop right there.” Barron “makes some very good points and helps clarify some misinformation that's been out there.” But based on what he wrote, “it looks like FSU's options are limited” (ESPN.com, 5/14). ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson wrote the damage “has been done and the expansion rumors have begun to swirl once again, leading to renewed questions about the future of Florida State and the ACC” (ESPN.com, 5/14). YAHOO SPORTS’ Graham Watson wrote FSU is “not ready for the Big 12,” and the university is "not ready to leave the comfy confines of the ACC” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/14). CBSSPORTS.com’s Brett McMurphy wrote the Big 12 “may -- or may not -- be interested in expanding.” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby “doesn't even officially start until next month and the reality is any candidate the Big 12 would pursue (Florida State, Louisville, etc.) has no other options.” So the Big 12 “can sit back and wait to see how the new 2014 playoff revenue is divvied up among the conferences before deciding who, if anyone, they want to add.” McMurphy noted the Big 12 “is very satisfied with its current 10-member makeup” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/14).
An annual analysis of college athletics finances shows that over the past three years “no college athletics program has out-earned or outspent the colossus that is Texas,” according to a front-page piece by Wieberg, Upton & Berkowitz of the USA TODAY. The Univ. of Texas took in “a little more" than $150M in '10-11, which "outdistanced second-place Ohio State by $18.5M. UT's "outlay for football and 19 other varsity sports" was $133.7M, almost $11.5M more than Ohio State put into its 36 teams. The UT athletic department is “one of only 22 across Division I that operate in the black,” and a year ago "kicked" $6M back to the school’s academic side. UT's “unabashed athletics growth comes, however, as the NCAA continues to preach fiscal temperance, particularly to schools spending beyond their means in the chase for athletics success.” The study shows that “ten programs, all anchored by football," made or spent more than $100M a year ago. Nearly two dozen topped $80M "on one side of the ledger or both.” The Longhorn Network has “just started paying off" for UT, including a first installment of about $8M, with a total of $247.5M due over a 20-year contract with ESPN. Overall athletics revenue for ‘11-12 is “projected to approach $160 million, expenditures to rise by almost $20 million to $153.5 million.” Former Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne, who retired last week after 10 years at the school, said of UT, "They do everything they can to set themselves apart, that they are the very best, they are the elite." He added, "They're absolutely committed to having the best athletics program in the country. You've got to tip your hat to them." UT men's AD DeLoss Dodds said, "Whatever we do, we want to do it well. Whatever sport we have, we want it totally funded -- I mean totally funded.” Former Univ. of Arizona President Peter Likins “doesn't object to Texas' approach specifically.” However, he objects “to what it represents: unbridled escalation that dwarfs the growth of universities in general and all but mocks the financial straits that have led many schools to pull back on the academic side” (USA TODAY, 5/15).
THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS: USA TODAY’s Steve Wieberg writes UT “poured as much money into its athletics programs a year ago as eight of the nine schools in the more modestly resourced Sun Belt Conference did combined.” UT President Bill Powers said, “We may get to a point -- I want to underline the word may -- where many schools are really not in a position to compete at the level of the Floridas and the Notre Dames and the Texases and the USCs.” He added, “I am not a fan of some national league, but we may end up with 50 schools in (the upper football division of the NCAA's) Division I." In the study of 99 public-school programs in ’10-11, the top 50 revenue producers -- led by UT -- generated an average of nearly $81.5M and the bottom 49 an average of a little more than $28M. Below is a chart listing the schools in order with the largest difference in total revenue gained and the athletic department’s operating expenses (USA TODAY, 5/15).
SCHOOLTOTAL REVENUEGENERATED REVENUEALLOCATED REVENUEOPERATING REVENUEDIFFERENCE Kansas State$69,947,834$66,656,183$3,291,651$46,549,248$20,106,935 Texas$150,295,926$150,295,926$0$133,686,815$16,609,111 LSU$107,259,352$107,259,352$0$91,796,925$15,462,427 Penn State$116,118,025$116,118,025$0$101,336,483$14,781,542 Alabama$124,498,616$119,263,316$5,235,300$105,068,152$14,195,164 Florida$123,514,257$119,147,186$4,367,071$107,157,831$11,989,355 Michigan$122,739,052$122,466,368$272,684$111,844,553$10,621,815 Arkansas$91,768,112$89,917,612$1,850,500$79,392,988$10,524,624 Oklahoma$104,338,844$104,338,844$0$94,363,928$9,974,916 Ohio State$131,815,821$131,815,821$0$122,286,869$9,528,952 Oklahoma State$82,631,915$76,444,582$6,187,333$66,937,207$9,507,375 Texas A&M$87,296,532$87,286,676$9,856$78,310,805$8,975,871 Georgia$92,341,067$89,143,680$3,197,387$80,759,498$8,384,182 Oregon$85,819,699$83,399,844$2,419,855$76,274,142$7,125,702 Purdue$66,202,493$66,202,493$0$59,429,383$6,773,110 Tennessee$104,368,922$103,368,992$1,000,000$97,580,406$5,788,586 Iowa$93,353,561$92,788,881$564,680$88,057,486$4,731,395 Mississippi State$58,981,769$54,162,116$4,819,653$51,588,743$2,573,373 Nebraska$83,679,756$83,679,756$0$81,916,484$1,763,272 Kentucky$84,878,311$84,059,187$819,124$82,840,006$1,219,181 South Carolina$83,813,226$81,564,951$2,248,275$80,525,711$1,039,240 Illinois$77,863,883$73,880,243$3,983,640$73,476,818$403,425