The thought of Florida State and all its fine football tradition joining the Big 12 took on a realistic feel Saturday when the school’s chairman of the Board of Trustees wound up and socked the ACC in the nose.
Andy Haggard, displeased with the way the new TV contract is structured, let the conference have it in an exclusive interview with Warchant.com.
The source of the chairman’s discontent: The ACC surrendered third-tier rights for football to ESPN/ABC, but did not do so for basketball, much to the delight of perennial basketball powerhouses Duke and North Carolina.
“It continues the perception that the ACC favors the North Carolina schools,” Haggard railed to Warchant.com. “... It’s mind-boggling and shocking. How can the ACC give up third-tier rights for football, but keep them for basketball?”
Haggard said in the interview he is unaware of any contact between Florida State and the Big 12, but would like that to happen.
“How do you not look into that option?” Haggard said. “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.”
Haggard also put dynamite to the notion that the high academic standing of the ACC makes it too attractive to leave.
“No FSU graduate puts on his resume or interviews for a job saying they are in the same conference as Duke and Virginia,” Haggard said. “Conference affiliation has no impact on academics.”
Many disagree with that, especially university presidents, the very group that started logical conference affiliation on the road to ruin when it took over college sports nearly a quarter-century ago, instead of leaving it in the hands of the experts, the athletic directors.
Bystanders consider Clemson a logical choice to join the Seminoles in fleeing to the Big 12. Louisville has been mentioned often as a Big 12 candidate.
Meanwhile, Rutgers flies beneath the radar, a stealth candidate for Big 12 expansion, one that doesn’t have anywhere near the sex appeal of a Florida State, but does have more appealing attributes than many might think. If the New York area ever tunes into a football program for a sustained period, Rutgers will be that school.
Academically, Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, has an excellent reputation, which as Haggard said can be a little overrated. Nobody checks the U.S. News and World Reports college rankings before deciding whether to watch a football game.
A Rutgers-Louisville expansion combination makes some sense, but it doesn’t make the conference stronger in the same way as adding Florida Sate, a football juggernaut from a fertile recruiting state. If the Big 12 is lucky, the steam Haggard blew off will turn into action.