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September 12, 2012

BOT Chair: FSU voted against increased exit fee

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Florida State Board of Trustees chairman Allan Bense told Warchant.com that Florida State voted against the Atlantic Coast Conference's new $50 million buyout announced Wednesday with the addition of Notre Dame as the league's 15th member.

FSU President Eric Barron was representing Florida State at the ACC Council of Presidents fall meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C. this week. The ACC announced the addition of Notre Dame as a full member in every sport except hockey and football with the football program obligated to play five ACC teams per year.

With the addition of Notre Dame, the Council of Presidents also approved the increase of the league's exit fee from around $20 million to three times the annual television payout per team. This year, that would be around $50 million.

"President Barron voted against it. I personally think that $50 million is punitive. I'm not sure that holds up," said Bense, who was named the chairman of the Board of Trustees for a two-year term in June. Bense also said that Maryland voted against the increased buyout. "I'm not implying that there's going to be any changes, but $50 million is a lot of money."

The Charlotte Observer's Andrew Carter reported Wednesday that nine of the 12 ACC schools had to vote for the increase for it to be approved.

Bense, the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, (2004-06), was clear that he approved of the move to add Notre Dame to the league, saying "it's good for the ACC and Florida State." Bense also emphasized that Florida State has no plans to explore any other conferences. However, the staggering figure could hamstring the school if it had any plans to make changes down the road.

"Don't construe his vote against it to mean anything about anything, it's just that in my business that when you get in something you better figure out a way to get out of something," Bense said. "We have no desire to get out, but $50 million makes it pretty tough to do anything."

According to Bense, if Florida State desired to make a move at any point in the years to come, the payout would make it "very difficult."

"I haven't talked with a lawyer about it, but that's almost punitive, you know?"

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that the increased exit fee goes into effect for all 15 member schools immediately including Notre Dame.

The increased exit fee is on the heels of rampant offseason speculation that ACC members FSU and Clemson were being courted by the Big 12.

FSU athletic director Randy Spetman declined comment on whether FSU supported the $50 million buyout during a Wednesday afternoon news conference but said that Barron is "a strong advocate for the ACC."

"I wasn't there," Spetman said.

Press conference with FSU AD Randy Spetman's press conference talking about the addition of Notre Dame to the ACC and the higher conference exit fee
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