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Florida State Forms Expansion/Realignment Committee

Time to throw a little more accelerant on the expansion fire, folks.

Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post is reporting this afternoon that Florida State “is forming a committee that will explore the university’s options concerning conference realignment.”

Andy Haggard — the chairman of FSU’s board of trustees — said that the school should be prepared for any scenario, “whether it’s moving to another conference or staying in the ACC and having a say in who else may join the conference.”

He also said that FSU has not been approached by the SEC and he said that the school “is very happy” in the ACC.


* First, Florida State is the best “name” get that the SEC could land at this point.  While the Big Ten’s last two expansion moves have been Penn State and Nebraska (and they’ve talked with Texas and Notre Dame as well), the SEC’s last three expansion moves have been Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas A&M.  Those are good schools, but they are not national television draws like Nebraska and Penn State.  Florida State would be.  Adding A&M and FSU, the SEC would be adding television markets and recruiting ground to the west and a major brand name to the east.

* Some believe there is a “gentleman’s agreement” among SEC schools that the league will not pursue a school from within a current member’s state borders.  At, we’ve been told by two SEC sources that no such agreement exists.  Now, might some schools band together to block another school during the voting process?  Possibly, but we don’t believe there is a definitive guideline on this topic.

* While some say SEC representatives haven’t forgotten that FSU spurned the league in the early 1990s, we point out that FSU spurned the league in the early 1990s.  Meaning the school had an invite to turn down in the first place.  If Florida didn’t jump in the way 20 years ago, would Florida — and others — jump in the way now?

* There’s also a pretty widely held belief that Alabama, Auburn and Georgia would also be anti-FSU because those schools have to recruit against the Seminoles.  Well, they have to recruit against them now, too.  And while the SEC might be a lure for some recruits, there are still plenty who would probably love to play for an FSU squad that can own the ACC and play for BCS titles every season.  That doesn’t happen in the SEC.  So we don’t buy the “they’d block ‘em for recruiting purposes” argument.  If FSU would bring the league more money, I think the presidents at Alabama, Auburn and Georgia would convince themselves that it’s better to bring the Seminoles in and beat up on them… than to leave them out and let them own the ACC.

* Over the weekend, word emerged that the ACC was considering upping the exit penalties for schools looking to depart the league.  Could FSU’s decision to form an expansion/realignment committee have anything to do with the ACC’s strong-arm tactic?  Or might the ACC have gotten wind of FSU’s exploratory committee and then decided to press for bigger exit fees?  The timing is certainly interesting.  And why is FSU announcing the formation of this committee anyway?  Wouldn’t it be simpler to just form the committee and meet in private?  Why throw Chief Osceola’s headdress into the expansion ring?

* FSU officials have been awfully quiet regarding expansion.  Earlier this summer, when it was reported that representatives for the school had talked with representatives for the SEC, the school president said that no conversations had taken place and that FSU was happy in the ACC.  That’s a far cry from the numerous, pointed, no-two-ways-about-it denials that have come from Virginia Tech officials each time their school has been connected to the SEC via rumor or messageboard post.

* It’s certainly possible that SEC and FSU officials have had no contact.  But it’s also possible — as we carefully spelled out in the last paragraph — that representatives, third parties and go-betweens have had some chats.  It’s also possible that FSU’s decision to announce the formation of its committee is akin to Texas A&M announcing that it would start to look around for new conference options.  We believe the announcement was clearly made for legal purposes.  If FSU moves to a new conference, that conference is now protected from cries that it raided another league.

* As we have stated before, of all the schools located in the current SEC footprint, Florida State is the only one that brings value — real cash, dollar, money value — to the SEC.  Not via new television markets.  The SEC can claim the Florida markets as is.  But through its overall clout and overall viewership draw.  A Florida State game would draw more eyeballs from all across America, not just in SEC states or Florida markets.  People from Boise to Topeka to Albany watch schools like Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State, Alabama, Florida and Florida State when they’re on TV.  Disagree?  Get back with us after the ratings are posted from this weekend’s Oklahoma-FSU matchup.

* The SEC might have zero to do with today’s announcement.  But the odds suggest otherwise.  If FSU leaves the ACC, it will be for the SEC, not the Big Ten, Big East or Pac-12.  So flip a coin, people.  Either FSU wants to have a say in what the ACC does next… or it’s eyeballing a departure to the SEC.  And if it’s just wanting to have a greater say in the ACC’s future, why announce to the press that it’s formed an exploratory committee?


43 Responses to “Florida State Forms Expansion/Realignment Committee”

  1. AllTideUp says:

    Very interesting. I'd argue that adding FSU would not hurt SEC recruiting like some think. There is point #1 that John mentioned and that is that SEC schools are already competing against FSU and losing out on more than one or two high quality recruits. Point #2 is that other ACC schools and schools from across the country for that matter are recruiting in Florida and locking up the top 2 programs in the state of Florida may consolidate the SEC's recruiting advantage in Florida rather than hurting it. Miami also may be squeezed out in that scenario especially with their NCAA troubles looming.

  2. halfahalfpint says:

    Is it possible that FSU is responding to the rumors of Texas moving to the ACC so they can keep TLN? I dont know anything about the ACC politics, but would FSU welcome Texas' ego into their conference?

    • Tater Salad says:

      Unfortunately for FSU, the political power of the ACC is with the tobacco road schools, Sounds like you're assuming that FSU has the largest ego in the conference, which is far from being true. UNC and Duke were the "no" votes during the last expansion and hold the most political power within the conference - the question isn't whether FSU would clash with Texas' ego, but rather if UNC (and UNC-alum and conference commish Swofford) would have a problem with another Texas-sized ego in the conference.

      • AMVNOLE says:

        You're absolutely right. FSU doesn't have nearly as much clout as most would think when it comes to the ACC. Just look at where the ACCCG is going to be held every year.

  3. Nolegirl says:

    Hopefully FSU is smart and realizes that if A&M and Oklahoma don't want to deal with Texas that having them in the ACC won't be a pcinic either. The SEC is a better fit all the way around.

  4. HoustonVol says:

    I still think that FSU stays with the ACC. I really don't see them leaving unless the ACC is raided by the B10. This is as much about academics as it is athletics. Moving from the ACC to the SEC would be downgrading their academics. The only flaw in that arguement is if FSU is not academically tied into the conference like VT and the tabacco road schools. Knowing that FSU is at the low end of the conference academically (though no slouch) means that some of the other schools might not be playing nice with FSU academically. I find that hard to believe that after 20 years that FSU is not tied into the conference academically.

    I think it is more of the matter to make sure that FSU is prepared to present it's cases to the ACC on how it feels the conference should grow. Plus have plans and permissions in order in case the ACC is raided by the B10 to move quickly. I am sure that FSU is not excited about adding more NE schools which would stretch travel plans. If the ACC expanded northerly, then FSU would want to be in a southern division with Miami, GT and Clemson, and the Carolina schools so they would not be traveling up north all of the time.

    • AllTideUp says:

      I would have said you are correct, but the problem is that I see no reason why they would make this committee public if it is all about internal politics. I don't see what they would have to gain from that unless this is a prelude to leaving the ACC.

  5. B. Roberts says:

    I am getting killed on UF message boards for supporting FSU to the SEC. The recruiting arguement is dead. Everyone can sign the same number of players. FSU already recruits at a high level, joining the SEC won't have a huge impact. I'd also just as soon see FSU have to play Georgia tennessee and A&M prior to them heading to gainesville.

  6. JHL III says:

    You're facts are incorrect, Mr. Pennington, w/r/t FSU & the SEC in the early 90's. Both parties were talking to each other about membership when the ACC made overtures as well and FSU entertained them. The SEC was so offended, they voted NOT to offer FSU membership into the league. Look it up.


    • johnmrsec says:

      JHL III…

      I have. The SEC extended a clear-cut offer, FSU delayed and looked toward the ACC, and the SEC made sure not to make an "official" offer knowing that Bobby Bowden and FSU's prez preferred the ACC.

      I've also talked to two people very much involved in that situation.


      • FSUPhD says:

        FSU was NEVER, EVER extended an offer to join the SEC. As a graduate student, two of my professors were on the board that considered FSU's conference alternatives. In their official report to the board of trustees, recommending joining the ACC, they clearly stated that there was no offer from the SEC. You might want to check your sources, John. I think they are feeding you bad information.


        • Sarah says:

          Exactly right. SEC schools never voted to offer FSU.

          • johnmrsec says:

            Apparently some folks can't grasp this so let's try again…

            You know how a school will meet with a potential coach, talk contract with a potential coach, the coach will say "no thanks" and the school will then say publicly, "We never made him an official offer?" Happens every year.


            The SEC let FSU know they wanted the Seminoles. Roy Kramer even made an official pitch to the school. But FSU looked toward the ACC instead. And rather than be turned down in public, the SEC decided not to extend a "formal/official" offer.

            Seems pretty easy to grasp. And having talked with two people involved from the SEC side, I fully believe that's what happened.

            FSU knew it could join the SEC. And it decided not to. And a lot of SEC old-timers remember that and hold that against FSU.

            Thanks for reading the site,

          • Lou_C says:

            Yes, this is how it happened, and widely documented.

          • JHL III says:

            Well, Mr. Pennington, perhaps you can't grasp the fact that, unless you can document it, *NO* SEC offer was made. The ACC made a DOCUMENTED offer, and FSU accepted.

            Your assertions are basically apocryphal and cannot be verified.

            I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

          • johnmrsec says:

            JHL III…

            We've done our best to explain what happened and now we've posted an exhaustive piece written in 2001 that quotes the major players from the SEC, the ACC and FSU at the time.

            Still not convinced?


        • johnmrsec says:


          Not that I don't enjoy someone coming to the site and trying to tell our readers that we have bad information and bad sources, but…

          We've now posted a lengthy article from 10 years ago that quotes all of the major players at the SEC, the ACC and FSU at the time. They say what I said. They say what my sources said. They say the SEC made it clear it wanted FSU, FSU looked toward the ACC instead, and the SEC covered it's tracks by deciding at that point not to extend an official offer. But, yes, the SEC recruited FSU and FSU went the other way.

          It seems your professors might have been feeding you some bad information. Or at least only a portion of the information.


  7. Jamie Thornton says:

    I'm just going to say it now. SEC will add Texas A&M and FSU as it's 13th and 14th members. The SEC will stop at 14 for now. unless Missouri and Virginia Tech want to come in for some fun. But I think the SEC would be better as a 14 member conference with A&M and FSU.

  8. Earl Raynor says:

    Although adding Texas seems worthwhile, it is utterly ridiculous for any league called the Atlantic Conference to have a pod of Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas and whatever Big 12 team u can think of. The ACC needs to expand north and develop a completely separate identity from the Southeast Conference, by ending territorial overlap. The league should extend no further south than North Carolina with the exception of Miami, and expand to 16 by adding teams that are geographically contiguous and have historical relationships. If Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State all join the SEC, the ACC should look to the Philadelphia/Pennsylvania, New Jersey/New York/Connecticut markets, and add the following seven schools, Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia, Rutgers, Syracuse, UCONN, _and Notre Dame. The connection of Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia has been strong for years without a traditional conference affiliation and would blossom exponentially in a conference set up, Syracuse and UCONN have a similarly strong relationship which has evolved since the inception of the Big East, Notre Dame has a strong rivalry with BC and a historical relationship with MIami, as well as Penn State. Rutgers brings in New Jersey and lower Manhattan.

    • uhoh2626 says:

      If the ACC wants to survive, they will not expand any more Northeast. They did that with BC, and it brought nothing to the conference. The northeast is pro football territory. There are lots of people that live up there, but not that watch college football. I can see why SEC fans would want the ACC to move north, because if the ACC were to actually gain some traction, they have the potential to be a very good conference, and the SEC would have to fight even more for recruits with the ACC teams as well as in conference. College football is huge in the southeast and Texas. If the ACC wants to survive and compete in TV money, the only logical place to go is west, no matter what the conference name is. Hell, that can always be changed. No need to limit your earning potential because your name has Atlantic Coast in it.

  9. MIZ_SEC says:

    If Mike Slive is as great of a commissioner as everyone says, then I think he will be able to convince UF, UGA, and anyone else that adding FSU would be a great addition with major revenue upside. Florida is a big state with a ton of talent, adding one more school in the state is a great idea to lockdown to the state. No one in Big Ten country is worried about adding Notre Dame even though they have two other Indiana schools. If you have a chance to add a national powerhouse like FSU, you have to make it happen.

    • gatorhippy says:

      On what basis?…

      The television ratings will not increase significantly & their profit margin in athletics is non-existant…the SEC already has six of the biggest names in college athletics and five of the other six are more profitable in both hoops and football than FSU…

  10. TigerInGA says:

    In my opinion, IF or WHEN conferences go to 16 (Super…) the grabbing will be more about footprint schools with 'name' programs. As some suggest above, and I fear, IF the ACC is raided, do you think the SEC would be more concerned about protecting its eastern border (SC, GA, FL) and go after the trifecta of ACC there? If I was the SEC, I'd be concerned if the BIG-10 came calling to schools within your footprint and grabbing TV share. Thoughts?

  11. $EC guy says:

    It boils down to this: Schools that are added have to increase the $ amount of the contract to the point that the existing members are getting more $. Texas A&M brings the Texas market so there is definitely added market share there.
    RE: FSU — will they cause ESPN to increase the $ amount of the tv contract?
    Funny question: If the ACC loses FSU, will ESPN want to renegotiate the ACC contract downward to reflect the loss of a national marque team?

  12. atl14dat says:

    Agree with you John on most all things SEC this is the exception.

    FSU brings zero to the table. Very good program but Small TV market in the low 100's IIRC, Missouri,Vatech and Numerous others would be a better choice IMO.

    • seccountry says:

      TV market does not even cover 1/3 of the equation to how much $$$ they bring. The national ratings for FSU is five to ten times what misso or vt bring. You are looking at local market but the espn's of the world look at the national market and that is where the money comes from.

      • johnmrsec says:


        Agreed. FSU brings higher ratings everywhere. Their local market isn't the issue. They're a big brand name. That's the draw with FSU.

        Thanks to both of you for reading,

        • gatorhippy says:

          Sorry…but I don't see it…

          FSU would not improve ratings for the SEC say in Missouri to move it into first place in Missouri TV markets…while the addition of Missouri most certainly would move it to that point…

          Adding FSU simply makes the SEC "more first" in markets it already is highest rated or "less second" in markets where it's not…

  13. B. Roberts says:

    14 dat,

    I think the most important thing regarding expansion (besides TVs) is whether or not a school desires and values membership in the SEC. if Mizzou ultimately wants the Big 10 and just "settles" for the SEC, I want no part of the Tigers.

    • AllTideUp says:

      I have to agree with that. If Mizzou settles for the SEC then there is the possibility they would jump to the Big Ten one day and that would be a black eye for us.

  14. [...] the one ACC school that I believe would take an SEC invite, so it didn’t surprise me that the Seminoles are forming an expansion/realignment committee to evaluate their options.  An ACC-less Florida State certainly changes the equation for Texas and anyone else that might [...]

  15. Florida State Forms Expansion/Realignment Committee | Alabama News | Alabama Breaking News Headlines | Alabama News Directory says:

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  16. Rob says:

    Hey! Arkansas is undefeated against Nebraska and Penn St.! We may have fallen from being a national draw, but we'll be back.

    All kidding aside, that's some good analysis! Looks to me as if FSU is, as of right now, the 14th team. But will the SEC expand further anytime soon? That's the question I'd like for you to answer. Personally, I hope not.

  17. [...] 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…Naturally, that set off ripples across the sports world.At the time, we asked:1.  If FSU is forming [...]

  18. johnmrsec says:

    Never ceases to amaze…

    When we make a mistake, we own up to it and apologize for it. And we sign our names to what we write.

    Yet when someone comes here — anonymously — and tries to tell all of our readers that WE are wrong, have bad sources, etc and then we prove THEM to be wrong… well, those folks never return to apologize. "Sure, I tried to hurt your business and I claimed to know more than you. Tough."

    How pathetic. Not even an anonymous, "Sorry, I was wrong." Yeesh.


  19. jason fsutothesec says:

    FSU please jion the sec and show these guys that FSU can compete and win the sec as soon as next year if and hopefuly they are in the sec. the past few years were tough but any other time between 1987 and 2010 id say fsu has about 5 to 7 sec championships and 2 NC. I hate the acc and always have, IM jus standing up for FSU and beleave the acc has made them look bad. IF you want to be the man you got to beat the man. So come on FSU jion the sec PLEASE.

  20. gatorhippy says:

    The perception of FSU's monetary value is grossly over exaggerated…

    For the 2009/2010 school year, FSU ranked at the bottom of the pile in profits produced from athletics programs…football at 99th and hoops at 124th…THIS INCLUDES BROADCASTING REVENUES!

    Louisville, WVU and Missouri ALL posted substantially higher profits…WVU football was the 24th most profitable program in the country and their hoops came in at 57th…Louisville basketball ranked as the 21st most profitable program in the country which placed it higher than any FOOTBALL program from the ACC or BE and even their football program at 90th posted over a million dollars more in profit than the Noles…Mizzou football ranked 35th and even their cagers show up at 85th with a profit margin that DOUBLES FSU football…

  21. Know It All says:

    No ACC school is going to the SEC. The expansion committee was set up to decide who are going to be members #13-16 in the ACC. We now know Syracuse and Pitt are in, hence the discussion comes down to Big East (UConn, Rutgers) to solidify the NYC and Philadelphia DMAs, or Big 12 (Texas, Kansas and/or Missouri) to expand the territory.

    For the SEC's sake, you better pray they go with the Big East schools.

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