Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 5/14/12
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Florida State fans have debated the merits of a move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big 12 amongst friends and on message boards. And the chatter gained steam on Saturday when FSU Board of Trustees chairman Andy Haggard told Warchant.com that FSU should keep an open mind. His comments were followed a few hours later by football coach Jimbo Fisher telling the Orlando Sentinel that FSU should look out there to see what's best for Florida State. But the decision maker on any conference move is that of the schools president. And on Monday, FSU president Eric Barron issued a strongly worded letter to faculty outlining the reasons that FSU should stay in the ACC. Barron acknowledged the response he has received recently from FSU alumni, boosters and fans who want the Seminoles to switch conferences, telling faculty in the letter that hes heard arguments about the ACC being more basketball than it is football, and that its too North Carolina-centric. Other points made by FSU fans to Barron are the strength of the Big 12 in football and the more lucrative (yet unsigned) TV contract between that conference and its member schools. But Barron outlined seven reasons why FSU should stay in the ACC, including a buyout of 20 million-25 million if FSU chooses to leave the conference, and the potential loss of a rivalry with Miami. He also states that FSU faculty members view the Big 12 as an academically weaker conference. 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 wrote. One of the few wise comments made in the blogosphere is that no one negotiates their future in the media. 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. Talk of FSUs move to another conference intensified a few weeks ago when FSUs athletics department reported that it would run a 2.4 million deficit in 2012-13. That fueled many fans arguments that FSU should pursue another conference with a more lucrative TV deal. The ACC reached a deal on Wednesday with ESPN that extended its annual contract until 2026-27 and gives conference schools on average about 17 million per athletic season. The deal, however, does not begin until Pittsburgh and Syracuse join the ACC, which is likely to happen in 2013. But a number of media outlets have reported that the deal is backloaded, meaning schools wont receive the larger payouts for another decade. Barron said that the ACCs television deal does favor FSU because it allows for equal sharing of revenues. As a former dean at the University of Texas, he said he watched the events and says Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M left the Big 12, at least in part because the Big 12 is not an equal-share conference. He also thinks FSU would run up its travel expenses with numerous Big 12 road games to Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and West Virginia. Barron saved perhaps his strongest words for academics. He says FSU faculty members are against joining the Big 12. The faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker and in fact, many of them resent the fact that a 2 percent (2.4M) deficit in the athletics budget receives so much attention from concerned Seminoles, but the loss of 25 percent of the academic budget (105M) gets none when it is the most critical concern of this University in terms of its successful future.
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