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June 7, 2012
President Eric Barron discusses realignment at BOT meeting Thursday
SARASOTA - Florida State Board of Trustees members filed out of the Johnson-Blalock Education Center on Thursday afternoon more knowledgeable about where Florida State may or may not fit in realignment.
But there is no plan of action to follow the rhetoric yet.
FSU President Eric Barron broached the subject during the board's quarterly meeting, his first public comments on the subject since a bullet-point memo he sent last month outlining the pro's and con's of a move from the ACC to the Big 12. Barron said Thursday that the university continues to investigate the situation and also assured the trustees that the ACC would not be left out of any four-team football playoff model.
"President Barron was very thoughtful and deliberate and asked us to be very thoughtful and deliberate about what's going on in respect to conferences," trustee Allan Bense told Warchant.com. "It was a good analysis, a lot of it is still a moving target but I think we need what President Barron said, just gather all of the facts and make sure that we are doing our due diligence and so on.
"I would assume all of us who are trustees are following this closely. I'm sure that President Barron is following it closely. So I think it is being given the proper attention. We'll see what happens."
The Board of Trustees held a workshop and separate meetings for its four committees on Thursday. The BOT's general meeting will be on Friday morning.
Florida State Board of Trustees chairman Andy Haggard maintained that there is no formal contact between Florida State and the Big 12 Conference, saying Barron's decision to speak on realignment Thursday was due to the board "needing to be advised" on where the university stood on the subject. But Haggard also said it is possible that the board could give Barron the power to make any conference alignment decision in the future. Haggard does not expect that motion to be made during the BOT's general meeting on Friday morning.
Haggard and Bense also said that there is no current plan for the university to form any kind of formal fact-finding realignment committee.
But the discussion rolls on, and so did varying opinions offered on the realignment during Barron's comments on Thursday.
Trustee Joe Gruters proposed that Florida State support an eight-team playoff model, something that would ensure that the ACC champion would have a chance at a national championship.
"I like the ACC, but at the same time, just like they said in the meeting, we have to remain competitive," Gruters said. "And if they are talking the four-team playoff, we really need to push for eight.
"If they say only the top four teams are going to make it, we may be out every year. The president said no, the ACC is going to be covered (in the four-team playoff model). But to guarantee the ACC is going to be covered and to guarantee the Big East and everyone else, it should be eight teams. If Division II can do it, we can do it."
One trustee who spoke on the condition of anonymity was concerned both ways. First, the extra money the Big 12 could offer may not be enough to entertain such a geographic shift in leagues. However, it was concerning that due to gaudy TV contracts, programs in the Big 10 and SEC would have much higher revenue potential than Florida State would have in the ACC long term.
"We could be falling behind by tens of millions of dollars," the trustee said.
With little discussion and no action to date, Gruters thinks Florida State is taking the correct stance.
"I think the Chairman (Haggard) is on the ball, he knows what's going on and like he said, there's been no discussion either way," Gruters said. "And if anything ever comes up, he's going to look at it. And I think that's the right policy to take."
- Warchant.com will be on hand during the Florida State Board of Trustees general meeting on Friday morning, which begins at 8:30 a.m. The acquisition of the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center and the bond issue for the football indoor practice facility are expected to be approved during the meeting. Check with Warchant for live updates.
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