**UPDATE** FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher has also publicly commented, telling Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “There have been no official talks, but I think you always have to look out there to see what’s best for Florida State. If that [jumping to the Big 12] is what’s best for Florida State, then that’s what we need to do.” **
Realignment talk is usually an open secret. Leaks get news of an impending defection out to the public, and officials either “no comment” or “did not return calls” until they’re ready to pull the trigger.
We’ve been hearing all week that Florida State and Clemson are dissatisfied with the recent ACC television deal, which (wonder of wonders) gives more power to basketball schools via third-tier rights, while giving away the same rights to football telecasts. If you’re Duke, UNC or even Maryland, you’re pretty happy with a deal that favors your strengths. If you’re Clemson or FSU, you might be a bit miffed that your recognizable football brand is getting the shaft. Third tier rights aren’t exactly “the shaft”, but ceding them for football and keeping them for basketball is bound to wrinkle noses at traditional football powers.
Ordinarily, we’d all be left to argue this in a vaccum, sans official comment. Thanks to FSU Board of Trustees chair Andy Haggard and Warchant.com, we know exactly how at least one involved party feels:
“It continues the perception that the ACC favors the North Carolina schools,” noted Haggard.
Haggard added that he has received numerous emails from FSU fans and alumni since the deal was announced and estimates that about 95 percent are unhappy with the ACC’s deal and how it will impact Florida State.
This overwhelming criticism over the ACC’s handling of the new TV deal and FSU’s recently announced financial shortcomings (projected $2.4 million deficit for 2012-13) have only added fuel to rumors of a potential move to the Big 12.
Haggard confirmed that as far as he knows there has been no contact between FSU and the Big 12 regarding possible expansion. However, he makes it very clear that he and the Board of Trustees would be more than open to exploring the possibility if it would mean additional revenue to the school.
“How do you not look into that option,” asked Haggard. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State’s best interest.”
Now, Haggard may have “gone rogue” on this one, and may be telling tales out of school. FSU AD Randy Spetman may be dissembling when he says the ‘Noles are not out negotiating with other leagues. Speaking is often double-speaking. But it’s a good bet that Haggard’s decision to blab won’t sit well with those who like to handle these things in boardrooms rather than the media.
Tallahassee Democrat Sports Editor Ira Schoffel pointed out, moments after Haggard’s remarks went public, the chair’s term is about to end. If Haggard is launching his re-election campaign, this might not have been the wisest way to go about it.