Two days ago, the chairman of Florida State’s board of trustees told The Palm Beach Post that his school “is forming a committee that will explore the university’s options concerning conference realignment.”
Naturally, that set off ripples across the sports world.
At the time, we asked:
1. If FSU is forming a committee, why tell the press? (Unless FSU was covering its legal bases in the hopes of avoiding future lawsuits if/when it left the ACC.)
2. Could FSU be throwing a public tantrum with the goal of gaining more power or more pull in the ACC?
Yesterday, that same chairman — Andy Haggard — joined with FSU AD Randy Spetman to tap the brakes on all the realignment talk. Haggard told The Associated Press that it would be up to Florida State president Eric Barron to determine whether or not to form a committee.
So the word on Tuesday was that a committee was being formed. In fact, the makeup of that committee — ex-players, administrators, etc — was even being discussed. But by Wednesday, FSU’s committee had gone back to being a mere possibility.
Haggard also said that any decision to actually leave the ACC would be left to FSU’s president.
Spetman — also speaking with the AP — did make it clear that TV revenue will play a big role in any expansion/realignment plans:
“I have no magic message but we do know the collegiate structure is changing. Television has driven it to where it is. The move now for extending the size of a conference is TV contracts. That’s the only way to make more money.”
So the question becomes: Where can Florida State make the most money? In the ACC? In some ACC-Big East amalgamation? In the SEC?
Or, perhaps, in a rebuilt ACC featuring Texas? The folks in Austin are already trying to spin a possible Texas-to-the-ACC move as a positive to Longhorn fans (who likely won’t see it that way).
Meanwhile, Tom D’Angelo — who broke the first story of FSU’s committee — back when it appeared it was definitely being formed — writes that the ACC will need to get proactive if it wants to keep Florida State and survive the coming armageddon. Adding Texas and expanding further would fit his definition of being proactive.
But let’s turn our attention back to Haggard’s Wednesday backtrack. There are several ways to read it:
1. FSU’s board chairman simply said too much. He put the cart in front of the horse. It could be that FSU’s president was less than pleased with Haggard’s jumping of the proverbial gun on Tuesday and asked him and Spetman to do some damage control come Wednesday.
2. FSU’s board chairman spoke the truth on Tuesday. It could be that FSU did want to defend itself — and any future conference home — against potential legal threats and announcing that the school was exploring all its options was a clear way to do that. But now that the word is out, FSU might be trying to fend off the thousands of questions that are sure to come its way from a freshly chummed press corps.
3. FSU was indeed just sending a signal to ACC commissioner John Swofford that the league had best not forget about the Seminoles. It’s possible that if the ACC is seriously talking with Texas, FSU brass could be scared of how the league’s financial split might be changed. Or it could be worried that it will no longer be the jewel of the conference when it comes to football. By causing a little dust-up on Tuesday, FSU could be playing for a bit more ACC attention.
At MrSEC.com, we wonder why the chairman of FSU’s board — and not the school’s president — is the man doing most of the talking. If the school wants to announce it’s forming a committee, why wouldn’t Florida State’s president make that statement? And that leads us to think that Option 1 above — that Haggard might’ve said more than he should have — is the most likely scenario.