SBD/May 15, 2012/Colleges

FSU President's Statement Includes Points For, Against Moving To Big 12

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FSU president pens memo stating pros and cons of switching conferences
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).
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