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FSU Negotiated Down The ACC’s New Exit Fee, But Good Luck Getting A Read On The Noles’ Plans

Toss out the “gentleman’s agreement” that never existed in the first place.  Forget that Florida State once turned down advances from the SEC two decades ago.  And nevermind the SEC’s “don’t step on any other conference’s toes” approach to expansion.

Florida State is the biggest name in the South not already in the SEC.  Sorry, Clemson.  Tough break, Virginia Tech.  North Carolina would be nice, but they’re not leaving Duke and a basketball-first conference filled with other AAU schools.

Florida State makes sense on the field.  Florida State makes sense in terms of television negotiations.  Florida State makes sense in the bank account.

But FSU just voted to raise the ACC’s exit fee to $20 million.  So scratch them from the SEC’s wish list, right?

Well, maybe not.

The chairman of FSU’s board of trustees, Andy Haggard, told WarChant.com — the Rivals site covering FSU — that school president Eric Barron worked hard to make sure the league’s new exit penalty didn’t go even higher:

“There was talk of a $34 million penalty and it was at $16 (million).  Eric made some outstanding comments to the committee, to the ACC to explain this and that and did a great job for us.  H brought that (penalty) down.  He and I think Maryland and another school, they all had a problem with it being that much and brought it down to $20 (million) which is only an increase of four (million).”

Well, most reports had stated that the league’s previous exit fee was $13 million, so this jump in exit fees really is nothing to speak of.  Not to mention the fact that FSU helped keep it low.

Haggard, you might remember, is the man who said a week ago that FSU was forming an expansion committee.  A day later he said that only the president would decide whether or not to call a committee together.  Flip meet flop.

And he was flip-flopping all over the place in this most recent interview, too.  To wit:

“(A move to the SEC) isn’t happening anyway.  The SEC has not contacted us and it’s not going to happen.  Every time I read the paper or hear the rumor about FSU all that strikes me is that FSU is a dominant program and if I was on the rumor mill I’d mention FSU, too.  But we’ve never been approached and it’s not going to happen in my humble opinion.  As a chairman of the board of trustees, I don’t think it is going to happen and Eric (Barron) doesn’t think it is going to happen.

With the new movement with the ACC, which I’m so proud of us and the ACC for expanding and we are one of the first ones to do it, and with speculation about Notre Dame and Connecticut I like were we are at right now.  I don’t see any SEC possibilities.  But hey, we’ll listen.”

Anybody else wanna land a pie in this guy’s face?

First, you can’t complain about the rumor mill if you’re the guy who tells the press your school is forming an expansion/realignment committee.  (We said at the time the only reason to make such a statement was to legally cover the rear of a conference that had approached FSU… “we’re looking, they didn’t come to us.”)

You also can’t complain about the rumor mill when you make a long case for staying put… only to finish that statement by saying, “but we’ll listen if someone else calls.”

Of course FSU’s on the rumor mill.  FSU is sending mixed signals.  More specifically, Haggard is sending mixed signals.  Barron may be the school’s president, but Haggard has become the face of the university.

So what do we make of all of this?

 

1.  The SEC has to know that FSU would be the grand “get.”  Like Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska or Penn State, Florida State is one of the top brands in college sports.  The Noles would increase ratings across the board no matter who they were playing.  Networks would like that.

2.  Florida State knows that it would probably make more money in a 14-school SEC with Texas A&M than in a 14-school ACC with Syracuse and Pitt.  Now, if the ACC lands Notre Dame, Texas or the Pittsburgh Steelers, yeah, all bets are off.  But if FSU is the 14th school in a league, it would be wealthier in a 14-school SEC than a 14-school ACC.

3.  We know that FSU has announced and then un-announced the formation of an expansion committee.  Why even consider an expansion committee if leaving the ACC were not an option?

4.  We know that FSU helped keep the new ACC exit fee from going higher.

5.  Add it all up and… hell if I know.

 

Haggard and FSU have been so far all over the board that it’s impossible to get a read on their thoughts.  And from afar it seems as though Haggard just likes to see his words in print.  Who knows if his back-and-forth ramblings are to be taken as gospel or not?

There’s no question the ACC is a better academic league and that it will take a lot of cash for FSU’s academics and pointy heads to decide to walk away from that league for the jock-first (at least in reputation) SEC.

Also, the ACC just added two more basketball-first schools.  FSU could look at that and realize that it needs to be in a football-first conference.  Or it could look at that and realize that it’s got a great chance to own the ACC… while the SEC would be much tougher on Jimbo Fisher’s crew.

Sorry, we’ve got no answers.  The SEC is running silent — as usual — and FSU’s Haggard is making so much noise it’s unintelligible.

But we keep coming back to these facts:

 

1.  Regardless of what Mike Slive will say, the SEC needs/wants a 14th school.

2.  Slive wants to secure the SEC’s long-term financial security (and his own legacy).

3.  FSU is a perfect fit on all fronts.

 

If the SEC is to avoid the nightmare — and it would be a nightmare — of a 13-school league divided unevenly into two divisions with unequal schedules, then FSU is the best remedy.

And apparently they’d listen if Slive called.

 


33 comments
ROLLTIDE25
ROLLTIDE25

Everyone seems to think that new TV markets equal new geographical markets. That's just not the case. Notre Dame has the largest (or 2nd largest) and is in a geographically small area. Many schools with large markets are in small geographical areas. Take Alabama and Auburn for instance. Teams like Boston College and Rutgers are in large geographical markets but have actually very low viewership. That is what people mean when they talk about "expanding the TV market." The don't necessarily mean adding a top 5 geographical market. They mean adding a top TV draw. If you don't think that FSU is a top draw and wouldn't add to an already great SEC lineup then you're kidding yourself or just plain ignorant. In the last 9 seasons FSU has been a top 10 TV draw for it's bowl game regardless of who it is playing and what bowl it is in (the lowest rating was 10th with a very good 4.02 rating against Kentucky and in the Music City Bowl, of all places). If you account for the day in which the game is played (BCS games are the only games airing when played), then FSU is constantly a top 3 draw. As far as other schools the SEC could get (That means no Texas or ND) FSU is by far the best from a TV market stand point. Don't believe me? Here's the numbers: http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/story?id=4819384

RobSEC
RobSEC

FSU adds little to the SEC. Yes they have a national brand and will help drive TV ratings, but that only applies as long as they field an elite team. The past decade has shown that is not a given and that was when they had a cakewalk in the ACC. New TV markets is more important financially, academics matter (FSU isn't a bad school but it certainly doesn't add anything, it's not the level of Vandy, UF, AL, UGA, TAMU), and FSU doesn't bring much to the table in other sports either other than baseball. MU doesn't excite me from a football POV, but they are the better choice. VT would be great if the SEC could get them, and at least WVU would expand the TV markets.

frank
frank

some info for you all start in 2000 and go till now PITT has won more football games than ND PITT has won 82 ND 78

SEC 129
SEC 129

The SEC paid out $21million last year as well. Any change in the conference (i.e. adding TAMU or more) will promptly a renegotiation of our contract as agreed upon.

fsu
fsu

It almost makes too much sense, John. That's all I have to say. I've been adamant about FSU to the SEC for a while. Now that ND is looking less likely for the ACC, FSU gains little from Pitt/Syracuse. A little more $ in a TV deal, but we would get even more if we went to the SEC and renegotiated the 14-team contract (FSU/aTm will certainly boost the $).

I would argue that perhaps the reason why we want to stay in the ACC is academics. We are an SEC level school in academics. We are rubbing shoulders with Duke, Miami, GT, Wake, BC, UNC, UVa in the ACC, all schools that make us look better academically by conference affiliation. I personally think it's BS that just b/c you're in the same ATHLETIC conference with smart schools makes your school look smarter. For instance, the Pac12 is very diverse in academic success. Stanford and Berkeley are great schools. As is UCLA. However, they're not making Oregon or a school like that look any better. I'd argue that the only conference where academic success is completely crystal clear is the Ivy League.

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

SO why doesn't the SEC just make A&M official and go all out after FSU?

NoleFinity
NoleFinity

FSU sure does have strong national brand appeal.

The OU game TV ratings beat LSU vs Oregon handily. I'm not saying that to slight the SEC or LSU, just to say that FSU is still a national commodity. (and growing, thanks to a better team)

holdem
holdem

I hate to say it but we (SEC) better get moving or we will be the smallest tv contract conference out there. I don't know what we can do to prevent it, b/c the big schools that can add or solidify tv markets, Notre Dame, Texas won't come due to perceived bad academics. FSU adds nothing, run of the mill academics, no new tv markets. There national reputation has been gone for years, bad teams will do that to you.

WilliamA
WilliamA

This myth that Florida State does not fill its stadium is not even close to accurate. Florida State has averaged over 80,000 fans for their first three home games this year.
The SEC needs to be proactive and get Florida State. They are interested and one of the top ten brands in college football.
There is no way they do not improve the value of the league. I am glad it didn't work out for Missouri, these two programs are not in the same ball park. Come on Slive wake up!!!!

NoleFinity
NoleFinity

Please, if anyone here knows anyone who knows Slive ... Call them and get Slive to pick up that phone!

FSU wants in!

gig'em
gig'em

Look at the TV ratings for FSU. Something like 7 of the top 10 viewed games ever were FSU games. Did anyone see FSU's stadium during the OU game. It was rocking as big and loud asThe Swamp or LSU or Tennesse.

FSU and the SEC are a perfect fit culturally and geographically.

Whats the problem?

Bruce Holt
Bruce Holt

IF the SEC really wants them, and FSU wants to come......More POWER to Them !!

SEC fan
SEC fan

I do not get your complete fascination with FSU. As you have written numerous times, UNiversity presidents are calling the shot here. THey are motivated in improve the image and prestige of their universities through more money and academic prestige. I do not see FSU helping on eithe rof those fronts. FSU was a great fit in the early 90's, but the decision now is based on totally different factors.

FSU brings no new markets to the SEC. The SEC need more large tv markets. The current SEC has one top 10 tv market (Atlanta) as you have written before. Texas A&M brings into two more (Dallas and Houston) great fan support and helps improve the SEC's academic status (AAU member). FSU does not bring in any markets, their stadium is not close to full for home games against weak opponents and they do nothing to improve the SEC's academic reputation.

Maryland or Clemson can bring in new markets from the ACC (more tv money) and both are higher ranked universities than FSU (more acdemic prestige). Neither may want to jump, but I think both make more sense to the SEC presidents.

CrimsonPunch
CrimsonPunch

Good grief! Agree completely, it is a perfect fit and I bet both parties know it. There is no reason to go out on a limb and lobby for a relatively small bump and against a massive one regarding league exit fees if you don't have a desire to leave. This is one of those cases you can throw all the rest of what Haggard is saying out the window... his last statement (and Barron's actions) are the critical message. The combination of voting down the exit fee and "hey, we'll listen" suggests to me FSU is interested. SEC's move. As stated many times before, I think it would be a perfect match. Now let's see if the grown men can act like professionals and get'er done. Great update!

Micheal Cummings
Micheal Cummings

Make you start thinking why the ACC went to 14, maybe 16 teams in the future because they know that SEC is in their gunsight for that 14th school(15 or 16th). FSU is a major grab in the realignment game and if the SEC gets them, then you can see a all-out fight for ND from B1G and ACC, PAC-12 will have think about bring OU/OSU/TT/UT with the problems then we will have unabridged chaos.

secftw
secftw

Since you brought it up, VT's bowl has had higher ratings more times than FSU in the past 10 years (view your link). Either school would be a reasonable choice. Just food for thought.

TurtlePower
TurtlePower

In 1990, Penn State had research expenditures of about $350 million, about the same as Texas. That's also the year they joined the Big 10. In the 20 (or so) years since, PSU's research expenditures have more than doubled to $780 million in 2009. And its not just 2009 inflation dollars, because while they were even with Texas, UT is "only" at $580MM. Im not really one for US News rankings, but theyve shot up the charts there as well, though I dont have the actual numbers from back then, theyre like 43rd or so now. Conference affiliation has a big effect on academics. Sure the football team playing UNC or Michigan doesnt make your guys smarter, but the conference members work together on a lot of different things. The greater exposure leads to an increase in applicants, which leads to more selective standards for admittance, and so on and so on. So while athletics doesnt directly lead to a snootier academia, the relationships built definitely can improve a school's academic standing.

rmft
rmft

i sure with they would

I like to pretend Slive is working on that one behind the scenes, but one thing I've learned about expansion is that i dont have the first clue about expansion- i think after yesterday, there are lots of people feeling the same way

rmft
rmft

you can't get rid of name brands like FSU, USC, ND, Mich, Oklahoma, Alabama- even with a decade or 2 of bad football

all those programs have had rough periods, but what they all have in common is when they get even a few things going they IMMEDIATELY blow up on the national scale

If ND wins 3 games in a row, ESPN anoints them National Champs and they get 75% of CFB coverage. There are maybe 10 programs of this stature in the entire country, and FSU became one of them thanks to Bobby Bowden

if they are even halfway descent, EVERYONE in the country tunes in to watch

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

holdem...

FSU adds one of the biggest brands in the country. It's like adding Nebraska to the Big Ten. Networks would pay top dollar for an FSU addition because they know that any game featuring FSU will draw more eyeballs in markets all across the country.

John

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

SEC fan...

Florida State is one of the top brands in the country. Networks would pay for their name. Just as Nebraska helps the Big Ten.

This one isn't about new markets. This one is about a brand so big that influences markets across the country... like a Nebraska or Alabama or Texas or Ohio State.

John

CrimsonPunch
CrimsonPunch

To me it is about the right fit regarding football culture, regional pride, and ensuring compelling match-ups. FSU might not add defined regional markets as you point out, as Texas A&M does, but it certainly brings national brand presence and great games. The Oklahoma game at Doak is a sign of what you would see filling that stadium if they were in the SEC. To me, they are an SEC school stuck in a basketball conference. Perhaps they made a mistake 20 years ago not joining, or maybe it was the right decision at the time, but as a southerner and a die hard SEC fan it seems to me that we keep southern football southern and go after match-ups that interest us. IMO the money will come if the product is top rate. The only SEC folks I hear among my friends who are against FSU moving in tend to be my Gator friends who can't seem to stomach it.... but even they are changing their tune.

ROLLTIDE25
ROLLTIDE25

I agree on VT. I also think Clemson would be a very good fit because they are also a large draw. All three schools also seem to be a good "fit" into the culture.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

UT's research money has grown while being in the Big 12 which is not a great conference when it comes to academic "reputation." On the other hand, Penn State's growth comes in large part because their membership in the Big Ten comes with a spot in the CIC. The CIC is really the only measurable advantage in academics with regard to conference membership in all of big time college athletics. My understanding is that the ACC has no such grant sharing agreements. The only benefit FSU receives from the ACC is purely "reputation" based and honestly I don't know of anyone who ever speaks of FSU in the same breath as Duke, UNC, and UVA when they are talking about academics. The people who are familiar with academic rankings are the people who would know such things and are pretty much the only people who would care.

If it was simply about academic association then I think Florida or Vandy or most any other school in the SEC would be working hard to get into the ACC instead of people talking about it being the other way around. There are plenty of very solid schools in the SEC who also bring the athletic brand that FSU does and so I don't see the ACC rejecting SEC schools if they thought the money was there.

Otto
Otto

Agreed and it takes another conf out of a market for a SEC monoply.

SEC fan
SEC fan

The SEC already has plenty of national brands when it comes to college football. Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Florida are all big brands. The SEC does not need any more star power in football. The SEC needs bigger tv markets to keep the big tv contracts and large payout per school.

The Pac 12 now has a much bigger contract and many more large tv markets.How big are the Pac12 college football brands? USC and Oregon as a recent power. Yet the Pac 12 can now pay $21M per school from the tv contract $4M more (at least) per school than the SEC - http://blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports/2011/0...

Now that the ACC is adding New York and Pittsburgh as markets, I would not be surprised to see their payouts per school from the TV contract to pass the SEC as well.

At some point, if these other schools get more money per year from their TV contract they will be able to spend more of athletic facilities than most SEC schools. Everything I have read has stated that TV contracts are all about TV markets, total viewers and ratings. I do not see FSU making a huge impact on that compared to another school that is already in a top 25 tv market.

FSU brings no net new TV markets. The PAC 12 contract shows that TV markets are more important than college football brand.

If FSU gets in the SEC, I think it is because higher priority choices already made a decision while Slive and the SEC were hoping to avoid law suits and not cause otehr conferences to break up.

ROLLTIDE25
ROLLTIDE25

I just get really tired of everyone thinking the SEC needs to add a team just because they are in a slightly different geographical region or not add one because they are already in SEC territory. I mean hell, why not add Rutgers if you want a big geographical market? Or Boston College? Gimme a break people.

rmft
rmft

People said Alabama was a "has been" only 4 years ago after over a decade of mediocrity

certain programs never die, they just lie in wait and their National Appeal is always there

even though ND hasn't had a good team in 20 years, nobody doesn't think they still aren't a Tier 1 program. Every conference in America would kill their first born to land Notre Dame. FSU owned the 90s, and every kid out there grew up with the Noles being the most dominant program in the land

You'd rather have NC State? Seriously? More people in North Carolina watch FSU than NC State, guaranteed

CrimsonPunch
CrimsonPunch

Not sure how accurate wikipedia is but regarding your alumni numbers this is what they list:

UF undergraduates: 32,064 (2010)
FSU undergraduates: 31,005 (2010)

UF Alumni > 330,000
FSU Alumni > 280,000

The only truly significant differential I found was in the graduate enrollment (something like 18K to 8K). Both schools are freaking huge for what it is worth. Based on your claim that UF had a much higher alumni population, I expected a much larger gap. Kind of surprised me... but truthfully I think the appeal that FSU brings goes WAY beyond the alumni and student base. As it does for UF and Bama, etc...

CrimsonPunch
CrimsonPunch

I think that has more to do with the fact that they were "down" during those years and the match-ups within the ACC are not nearly as compelling. Consider this, with FSU's recent reemergence as a potential contender, when they play solid teams the fans come. The link below is this past weekend (excerpt included). Just not sold that they won't bring in viewers.

"The OU-Florida State game earned a 5.8 national rating, representing 6,608,000 households and 9,307,000 viewers. It was the network's highest-rated, most-viewed Saturday night football game since the Big 12 championship on Dec. 5 in 2009 (7.5 rating, 8,608,000 households and 12,693,000 viewers). KOCO-5 received a 37.3 for its highest OU rating since the 2010 Big 12 final against Nebraska (39.6)."
http://newsok.com/ou-florida-state-telecast-produ...

SEC fan
SEC fan

I found the all time BCS Bowl ratings. http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/story?id=4819384

FSU has three games in the top ten of all time BCS bowls - and the last one was 2001, ten years ago. Doesn't sound like a brand people will watch regardless of how good 7hey are.

If the decision is based on tv markets (and the Syracuse, Pitt and Colorado moves make m
uch more sense from a tv market perspective than a football perspective) I just do not see the Noles moving into the SEC.

FSU should have joined the SEC in the 90's. I think both the league and FSU would have benefited a great deal. I agree that FSU is a fit from a football perspective, but I think this is only about tv markets for football, not football performance.

SEC fan
SEC fan

I looked up the most viewed college football games from the 2010 regular season. FSU does not appear in any of the top 10. http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/17976/alaba... They may have driven ratings when they were winning national titles, but the last one was in 1999.

UF already locks up every Florida market for the SEC. FSU adds nothing in terms of new TV markets to the SEC. UF has a much higher alumni base than FSU do to its size and has many mor ealumni

I agree that FSU would be a great addition to the SEC from strictly a football perspective. That is why they were a great fit in the early 90's. But expansion today is all about TV contracts and tv markets. One thing should be abundantly clear - expansion today is about tv markets and tv contracts.

Adding Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC makes no sense from a football perspective. But it makes a ton of sense to add New York and Pittsburgh to the ACC markets when talking to ESPN about a new TV contract. Adding Colorado to the PAC12 means nothings in foorball or even basketball brand - but it does add the Denver TV market to the PAC 12.

CrimsonPunch
CrimsonPunch

Gig'em answers your question regarding TV viewership below. FSU's games bring in huge national viewership. Regarding the Pac 12 and brands, out west schools like Oregon, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, etc. have rabid fans - but that fan base is regional, and massive. LA and San Fran are some of the largest markets in the country, so by nature of their location media companies will be willing to pay up. I agree with you that the SEC already has national brands, but if expansion has to happen, then you certainly don't want to dilute the overall quality with a non-nationally branded program.

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