Except this time, it's an ACC school making the noise which means this week's league meetings at Amelia Island just got a whole lot more interesting.
Apparently FSU is openly entertaining the notion of jumping to the Big 12.
So what's the problem? Money.
Ancient Shaolin philosophers lived by a simple premise: "Cash rules everything around me. C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dollar, dollar bill y'all," they said.
Conference realignment has been fueled by this C.R.E.A.M. mindset ever since the conferences battled the NCAA over television restrictions.
Florida State isn't interested in the possibility of better competition in the Big 12. The Seminoles want the money. The university is dealing with a $2.4 million budget crisis and simple math dictates that the conference with a better television deal would make it easier for Florida State to dig itself out of a hole. Even if the Big 12 only has a verbally agreed upon contract - which was needed to prevent the conference from imploding in the first place - the prospect of more cash is certainly enticing.
Haggard's misguided complaints about "Tier III" rights had the unintended (or maybe it was intended) consequences of poking holes in the ACCs reworked deal with ESPN. Once you get past the glowing facade of the press release, which highlighted the big flashy $3.6 billion figure, it turns out the ACC will only get a small increase in the early years of the contract. ESPN back-loaded the agreement and will average out to $17.1 million per school over the life of the deal.
There is a great deal of unhappiness in the FSU fan base to the point the BOT Chairman Andy Haggard raised a ruckus about everything from TV money to Tier III rights and the always reliable "North Carolina schools runs the ACC" canard. Apparently one issue is the TV deal looks a lot less glowing when it was discovered the money on the contract was backloaded, not uncommon with such arrangements. That means schools will only see an increase of around $1 million or so in the first year but be at $24 million per season by year fifteen for a $17 million per year average over the life of the deal. In addition, FSU thinks the money the deal brings in is insufficient on its face when compared to other conferences. And that would not be necessarily wrong but the question is why?
Simple. ACC football has been medicore for quite some time, something Ovies points out. In basketball, UNC and Duke carry the water and keep the league at the top of the TV schedule. Duke has every game they played televised somewhere as does UNC with the exception of an ESPN3 game or two. In football who is carrying the national torch? The answer is it should be some combination of Virginia Tech, FSU, Clemson and Miami but that hasn't been the case. In that respect some of the "blame" for the lack of kick on the TV contract falls in part on FSU for not being the national power it was in the 1990s.
Despite FSU's lack of championship potency in football over the past decade, they still operate with a brand which means the ACC will need to do something to address Seminole concerns. Some chatter this morning has John Swofford's head on a platter as a possible demand which may or may not get support from other schools. The only thing that is certain is there is a huge emotional element at work here. The Seminole fan base is up in arms and those concerns real or not are being piped into the mainstream by a member of the board of trustees. The FSU president, Eric Barron, is saying the right things in public but anyone who has paidattention to college athletics for at least 90 seconds knows fan base noise carries a lot of weight.
At any rate, those ACC meetings we normally pay little to no attention to could be ground zero for some big news over the coming days. Stay tuned.