Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FSU prez: Big 12 has pros, cons


The president of Florida State University says moving the athletic program from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big 12 has several drawbacks to be considered.

FSU president Eric Barron sent an email to those who have asked him about the possibility of the Seminoles switching conferences. The email was obtained by the Associated Press and several other news organizations.

He writes that negotiations between the school and the conference are not taking place. While he lays out both possible pros and cons for a move, he makes a strong case for staying in the ACC, where the Seminoles have competed since 1992.

For about the last two weeks there have been several more reports about Florida State leaving the ACC. Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman recently told the Orlando Sentinel the school was committed to the ACC. But Florida State board of trustees chairman Andy Haggard told that the board “would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer.”

The ACC currently has 12 members and will be adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse as soon as 2013. The Big 12 has 10 members after it replaced Texas A&M and Missouri, which are headed to the Southeastern Conference next season, with West Virginia and TCU.

“I want to assure you that any decision made about FSU athletics will be reasoned and thoughtful and based on athletics, finances and academics,” Barron wrote. “Allow me to provide you with some of the issues we are facing:”

Barron outlined four points made by those who support a move:

• The ACC is more of a basketball conference than a football league.

• The ACC is too North Carolina centric and the conference’s TV contract gives the stronger basketball schools an advantage.

• The Big 12’s powerful football schools are a better match for Florida State.

• The Big 12’s impending new TV contract might make Florida State $2.9 million more per year than the ACC’s new deal and Florida State needs the money.

Barron countered that the ACC shares its football and basketball revenue equally. The only revenue that is not shared equally is certain media rights for women’s basketball and Olympic sports, and that is to Florida State’s benefit.

He also points out that Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M have left the Big 12 over the past two years because the conference does not share revenue equally.

Barron wrote the Big 12 is at least as Texas centered as the ACC is North Carolina centered and that the Texas schools are expected to play each other. He wrote that the “most likely scenario” leaves Florida State playing Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia.

Florida State already has problems selling out its home games. Barron wrote that playing those schools would not cure that problem.

He also writes that the possible financial gains the school could make under the Big 12 TV contract might not be enough to make up for the cost of competing in that league.

Other FSU sports teams would have to make longer road trips and that could eat away any of the financial benefits of a better TV contract in the Big 12.

Barron also stated a move to the Big 12 could cost the school its rivalry game against Miami. Plus, “It will cost between $20-$25 million to leave the ACC — we have no idea where that money could come from.”

Lastly, he added: “The faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker ... “

“I present these issues to you so that you realize that this is not so simple (not to mention that negotiations aren’t even taking place),” Barron writes. “We can’t afford to have conference affiliation be governed by emotion — it has to be based on a careful assessment of athletics, finances and academics. I assure you that every aspect of conference affiliation will be looked at by this institution, but it must be a reasoned decision.”


NebraskaJayhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

Who wants to travel to the east / southeast for a football / basketball game. Or visa versa. These long distant relationships will not last (WVU) so why add more of them? I hate the way this realignment picture is evolving. Is there no common sense out there? I understand it's more complex than that, but I wish people driving this ship would wake up.


phogphan2000 1 year, 11 months ago

It's interesting that some of us don't like adding a school like WVU for geographical reasons, then you think about the poor WVU fans that now have to fly to every road game. Same thing with FSU, I can see how FSU fans would hate to have to travel to Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa or even WVU for a road game. Especially being used to the warm weather, not much fun to head to Iowa in November for a Florida resident. I would think the Big12 would be merciful enough to put them in a southern division anyway.


Travis Clementsmith 1 year, 11 months ago

Also, you have to consider the different motivations for conference expansion. The SEC is looking to add quality teams, it has those in spades. Its looking to add TV sets for their proposed SEC Network along the B!G model. So, they have to weigh what is the more important mission to them: the network or blocking a Big 12 invasion. I think they think they can still hold sway in the SE states and will continue to add market share.


BPSkelly 1 year, 11 months ago

The SEC wont take FSU because UF is dead set against that. And UF probably carries more clout than anyone in the SEC, with possible exception of Alabama. And even then that could be debated. This is fairly common knowledge in SEC / ACC country. While I dont know the details, I also think that FSU turned down the SEC a few times in the past already. That part doesnt sit well either. Obviously the SEC is in a different place than it was 20-30 years ago. From a much more practical standpoint while the 'brand' of FSU would carry some more cache', adding FSU does NOTHING to expand the TV and media footprint at all. UF already dominates the state with that... which is why the FSU isnt going to die down anytime soon. It's all about the $$$.


As a KU alum in St. Louis, ive mentioned that very issue (both big media markets in Missouri paying more attention to Mizzou) to a great many people here who are either Mizzou fans or Alums (immediate family included). Are folks who are Cardinals, Blues, Rams season ticket holders going to give that up for Mizzou season football tickets? Doubtful. Will some? Sure. Its hard for me to envision a sea change with that.
And while rural Missouri (insert meth lab joke here) has plenty of 'fans' and likely some alums probably will or would go (or more likely continue to go) to Mizzou games, its not a stretch to say that most of the $$$ needed for this shift to the SEC is St. Louis, and to some degree KC. My guess their entertainment dollars are going to go to their pro teams of choice first before they'd go to the Tigers, unless of course they're already going there -- and accounted for.

I think this is the real question for Mizzou's move to the SEC. Because its going to take that commitment by fans and alum to make it work. Otherwise, their going to be bottom feeding. I just dont see a huge shift in all this, thats all.


Scott Smetana 1 year, 11 months ago

FSU >>>Mizzery. Why didn't the SEC take FSU?

Is it because experts actually believe people in KC and St. Louis (baseball nuts) actually will watch Mizzery?


mikehawk 1 year, 11 months ago

What does this really mean? No way Florida State is joining the Big 12. The talk is posturing. End of story.


Krohnutz 1 year, 11 months ago

So to elaborate on your post BP, because I was thinking this right after reading your article posted above...

I don't think Barron has realized what this means to his job security; whereas the Presidents at Colorado, Mizzou, Nebraska, and A&M did. Once the fanbase realizes it is a real possibility, and buys into how "awesome" the new place will be, you have no choice but to make it happen.

If they refuse the offer, or even APPEAR to refuse the offer, and the deal is botched, their fanbase will assure that they are run out of town if their athletic program does not take off in a big way. And I don't mean softball titles or Olympic sports... Sorry.

The replies will become automatic. Anytime money is an issue, "We should have left for the Big 12." Anytime Carolina favoritism is an issue, "We should have left for the Big 12." Anytime a recruit picks Florida over Florida State, "We should have left for the Big 12."

For right or wrong, the athletic fanbase dictates these moves, and if he botches it up, he is done. He will always be the President that left them to "rot in the ACC."


BPSkelly 1 year, 11 months ago

I still think the Big 12 stays at 10 unless it feels it can make moves to grow the pie.

To me, FSU will grow the pie. As would another southern ACC school.

Id also mention that once moment for this sorta thing starts really rolling, theres nothing to get in the way of it.

Any one (brave or insane) remember what looked like once the Mizzou to SEC started?? It was a tidal wave that simply want going to be held back.

I dont think this will be quite to that level. But its clear that the not-so-silent majority (or minority, who knows at this point) in FSU land seems to be taking to this.

We'll see what happens.


danmoore 1 year, 11 months ago

If Notre Dame ever gives up their independence I think they will likely join the Big 10. They already play a number of schools there and it fits geographically. Big 10 is weaker than Big 12 and ND is not the program they once were.


FLJHK 1 year, 11 months ago

Not long ago I was fully on board with Manginoh00lz’s line of thinking on this. To me, academics have always been one of the foundations of conferences, along with geography and culture. To me conferences have always been something more than athletic leagues. They have been cultural entities. A certain stigma and identity applied based upon your school’s conference affiliation. And while I still think some of these factors are important, they are much less so today, and trends are such that they will be even less so in the future.

To me the last straws were Mizzou to the SEC, and even more so, W. Va. to the Big 12. W. Va. makes absolutely zero sense from any of the traditional perspectives. But it is truly a sign of the times. With W. Va. in the Big 12, geography no longer matters, and culture takes a back seat.

Now it is truly only about the money. And unlike the last round of conference shuffling, I hope the Big 12 is the aggressor this time. That being said, Florida State would be a terrific addition, and I think it is a viable possibility. But the other target should be Notre Dame. The landscape is shifting radically, and it may be time that Notre Dame reassesses its historic independence, or their national significance could continue to erode.

Imagining the Big 12 with FSU and Notre Dame is intoxicating. But I wouldn’t stop there. The next tier of targets should include Louisville, BYU and Clemson. If expansion eventually gets to 16 schools, I would like to see academic powerhouses like Tulane and/or Rice get consideration, but probably not before then.

I think expansion is inevitable to ensure long-term viability. I think the race for the 4th spot in the eventual four team superconference scenario is between the ACC and the Big 12. (The SEC, Big 10 and Pac are already in). It’s time to get out in front of this thing and think big. No expansion for expansion’s sake, expand only with quality.


danmoore 1 year, 11 months ago

Academics are part of the equation but the overwhelming factor is revenue. Half of the Pac 10 expressed concerns about the admission of the Oklahoma schools because they are not members of the AAU.


bradynsdad 1 year, 11 months ago

Academics is really just a stupid reason. Stop and think about that. It is a really stupid reason. No wonder the sec and the big ten are pushing to get Harvard and Yale into their conference. Academics really? As the coach from the movie "The Program" puts it, "when was the last time 80,000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?" Seriously let's get over academics. It's about football money, bottom line.


dhinkansas 1 year, 11 months ago it's about academics and tradition? Like Muck Fizzou had so much tradition with the other SEC schools? This guy sounds like a fool. It's about tv money, and I suspect behind the scenes, he's chomping at the bit to get his hands on Big 12 dollars. The ACC will never have football contracts the size of Big 12 contracts.


Robert Brown 1 year, 11 months ago

I would think Louisville would be pretty far down on the list. If the conference cannot get Florida State or some other big time program, there is no reason to expand. Louisville does nothing to add value to the media package. I could see them coming only if an odd number of desirable schools come in and Louisville is added to get to an even number.

I would think if FSU chooses to come to the Big 12, at least one other ACC school will follow.


Randy Bombardier 1 year, 11 months ago

WVU was a shock to me. It appeared desperate. To me geography has to make sense. That is a big reason why the Big East is a joke. Its members are all over the place. If we add some east pod teams like FSU, Clemson, etc, maybe it would work but I still think it makes more sense to expand in our own backyard. Adding schools such as Rice, SMU, Air Force makes more sense.


Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 11 months ago

At some point before the end of the decade, Congress may be forced to become involved. The prestige of the schools, the money, the fairness or lack of fairness of the conferences all point to this. Here's why:

Let's say that 64 teams divided into four conferences is the future. If those conferences are the SEC, the Big 10, the Big 12, and the PAC 12, with the divided remains of ACC/Big East teams, then think about this:

The state of Ohio will have just one NCAA team. Mississippi will have two. Kansas wil have two. Colorado, just one. Nevada, none at all. Missouri, just one. Kentucky, just one. Georgia, possibly, just one. Massachusetts none. Connecticut none. Maryland, possibly none. Virginia, possibly none. Does any one in their right minds thnk that this whole system won't be forced to reorganize and to be more inclusive--more teams?

With all the money concentrated into seemingly (to Congress) arbitrarirly chosen schools, how does Congress stand by and let this happen?

I'm basing this on population representation that we see in the House of Representatives.


april28 1 year, 11 months ago

Bottom line: Doesn't everyone feel a little more safe with Bowlsby leading the way for the Big 12? He wasn't hired to sit still.


BPSkelly 1 year, 11 months ago

This is BS on the FSU Prez part. I feel like he sounds like a politician with the half-truths coming out. But that wasnt his goal. His goal was to quiet down the peanut gallery.

It IS true that four schools bolted because of un-equal revenue sharing. What isnt true is that continuing. At least for the next 13 years. The new deal calls for a equal cut of the 1st/2nd Tier pie. He may or may not know this, but again... that wasnt his point.

The 2.9 'differential' is only 2.9 mil NOW. It wouldnt be once FSU and someone else joined. In fact that 'difference' would damn near double annually. And that ISNT including its Tier 3 rights which FSU could clearly make something $$$ out of.

The 'loss' of the rivalry with Miami? Possibly. But possibly be not if we went after Miami too. Of course there's no smoke/fire there, but there certainly is logic to pairing them up. IF FSU were to be invited, my guess is negotiations for some other southern ACC school would be involved. If not directly, certainly indirectly.

I do agree with the concept that academics do matter with all this, but that isnt driving the bus despite cries about it. If it was we'd already be in the Big 10. I have a relative who's a Maryland grad and lives in the D.C. / Va area. He's always crowing about the ACC's greatness but even he acknowledges the concept that "Tobacco Road" runs the joint. Which is part of why there is always speculation (at least there) about Maryland going to the Big 10 -- or at least hoping to. They hate Tobacco Road as much as everyone else there does. He told me to that he cant envision a huge fight from the ACC if they decide to go... there's simply no argument over the number 1 argument -- MONEY -- to be made.

As ive said previously, I dont know weather this happens or not. It sounds eerily familiar to Texas A&Ms (and to some degree Mizzou's) chirping the last 2 years. Of course it also sounds a bit like David Boren and his "not being a wallflower"... which it turned out he actually was.

Whatever. I still think beyond this talk and banter we're setting up for a big jump, not a little one. I bet by kickoff of week 1 in college football season we'll know something for sure. Or not. FUN FUN FUN


Jim Jackson 1 year, 11 months ago

Can someone briefly explain what 1st 2nd and 3rd tier TV rights are and what their significance is? That is where I get lost in all of this...Thanks!


Rock_Chalk_NYC 1 year, 11 months ago

Academics??? Seriously, does anyone even accept that premise anymore? 1. These are athletic conferences, not academic conferences. I don't see any revenue sharing of NIH grants. 2. Nebraska (lost AAU status) tried this lame excuse for their move to Big 10 3. Anyone want to tell me that San Diego St, Mizzery, Pitt, Syracuse, etc... Changed conferenes for academic reasons? 4. Any of you out there list your conference affiliation or your resume or CV? I know I personally pointed in interviews out that while I received my doctorate at KU, our debate team (of which I was not a member) competed against the likes of Baylor and Iowa State... Pretty sure thats why I was hired... LMAO

I don't know if this is going to happen or not but it sure would be great to get them along with 1 or 3 additional top tier schools.


bradynsdad 1 year, 11 months ago

Is it just me or does it seem as though he is putting his list of wants out there for the Big 12 to read before he contacts them? Basically saying we need money to get out of the conference, schools to pick up their academic standards and we don't want to be in the north division with k state, ku, Iowa state, Texas tech and TCU.


jhawkrulz 1 year, 11 months ago

Don't forget he is also negotiating to play UT or OU every year or so. He wants to be in the South not the North is all I see him doing.

But what if ND and Rutgers were added, would he still want to be in the South?

Remember most football schools want a few tough games, but they also want some conference foes that they can solidly beat every year. This assures them a chance at BCS success.


april28 1 year, 11 months ago

The faculty comments are pure show for the professors. As a poster yesterday noted, no one joins a sports conference based on it's academic reputation. Does anyone think that FSU is a strong academic school because they are in the ACC?

The mention of Miami is to ensure that the two schools come as a pair - if they come at all.

Travel costs for other teams will eat up $2.9 million a year? You need a new travel secretary. Plus, the $2.9 million will grow if FSU and Miami join the conference.

The home sell-outs in football are a legitimate concern. If you give 'em a healthy dose of OU, Texas and WVU, then that won't be a problem, but this might actually be the only reason he lists that's actually real.


Jackalope7 1 year, 11 months ago

FSU is not coming to the Big 12. I just don't see it happening. Love for it to happen thou.


JHWKDW 1 year, 11 months ago

Cannot argue most of the facts especially academics there manginorh00lz but there is 1 thing Ill disagree with you on!

Texas offered themselves to 3 Major Conferences.ACC,Pac-12,and the Big 10!Guess what all 3 of them said heck no to Texas!If Texas wants to go Independent I say go for it!They have destroyed the SWC now they have destroyed Big 12!And that stupid Longhorn Network which is failing miserably HA HA HA!

KU was offered the Pac-12 invite, but after we turned it down they gave it to Colorado!Actually the big reporter guy and inside info guy K Bohls had said after they got shot down by the Pac-12 last year they thought and had good info the Pac-12 wanted KSU and KU along with Oklahoma and OK state instead!Man if the rumors as I keep hearing that Texas is poo pooing Fla State and Clemson is true, I hope Zenger has K-State and the Pac-12 on speed dial and will get of us out of this conference with haste to the Pac-12 I hope!You do not even hear Zenger or KSU or anyone else in the conference making any comments about FSU or Clemson only Texas is shooting its mouth off about it!And basically saying no!Everyone is keeping quiet not even anything in the Big 12 websites but not Texas!How many times will Texas be the ball and chain to our conference?Ive had enough of them already!


manginorh00lz 1 year, 11 months ago

I've been telling you guys all along this is much more academics oriented than you realize. There is no way FSU leaves its affiliation with UVA, Duke, UNC, GT and Maryland to join the Big 12 with only KU, UT, and ISU while having to also be associated with OSU and TTech.

FSU to the SEC would be an easier sell to their faculty.

The fact is simple: the Big 12 needs to bring in some academic strength like Rice or Tulane. WVU and TCU just aren't on the same level and really bring the conference down when compared to what we lost with Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Nebraska. They were 4 AAU schools. And, before anyone tries to argue the "rankings" of other schools, remember the US News rankings don't accurately reflect real academics. AAU affiliation, research dollars, publication rates, faculty recognition, etc. are what this is all about.

It is correct to say that no student interviewing for a job will likely boast their school's athletic conference affiliation. However, that doesn't mean that that same student doesn't benefit from said affiliation. The fact is that schools within athletic conferences do tend to collaborate more on research endeavors, thereby raising the quality of research if those affiliations are with high-caliber research institutions. This, in turn, raises the overall profile of the school.

And, to be perfectly blunt, I have heard employers make snap decisions on the quality of a potential candidate's education based solely on their school's "athletic" conference affiliation.

"Oh, you went to Brown? That's Ivy League. Nice."
"Oh, Oregon? That's a PAC-12 school right? Good."
"Maryland business degree? The ACC has great schools."

The Big 12 just doesn't have the same image and it never will as long as expansion efforts are focused on short-sighted current football prowess. Lost in all this conference realignment news is the under-the-radar move that the SEC made in acquiring two AAU schools - putting that conferences total to 4, one more than the Big 12. Nebraska would never have been invited to the B1G if not for its AAU status at the time, their president even admits it. Colorado enhanced the academic profile of the PAC.

The Big 12 and Big East can add all the junk schools they want, but that won't gain them any long term stability. The Big 12 is much weaker than it was and it needs to make bold moves if it really wants to stay relevant. Texas will be gone anytime it wants, and that leaves the Big 12 with nothing.

If you don't think that academics is driving this ship, think again.


midwest_muser 1 year, 11 months ago

I thought the SEC had all the pros....


Todd Simpson 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm sorry what was wrong that he said?


cajayfan 1 year, 11 months ago

Basically he got pissed at his alumni, Regents head and football coach and lashed out in this email. The result was some blatantly wrong information and some piss poor PR for the Big 12. I don't know if the Big 12 should just rise above and no comment this idiot or try to correct some of his jabs. Somehow the Big 12 got caught in the crossfire.


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