If Florida State wanted to be playing somewhere that isn’t the ACC by the start of the 2024 season, the Board of Regents would need to vote to exit the conference by Tuesday.
Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported that the FSU Board of Regents, as of 4:27 p.m. Monday, have not scheduled a meeting for Tuesday. So, the Seminoles will be staying in the ACC for at least the next two seasons — likely for much longer.
It’s just the latest in ACC realignment chaos.
Florida State has not scheduled a Board of Regents meeting for Tuesday, the deadline to notify the ACC if a team is leaving before 2024 season. FSU's board must approve any membership change, so the Seminoles will remain in ACC … for now
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 14, 2023
There have been rumblings surrounding ACC schools considering trying to escape the ACC’s grant of rights agreement in the hopes of landing in either the SEC or Big Ten (and more money), but Florida State’s words have been stronger than ever.
“I think FSU at some point will consider leaving the ACC unless there is a radical change in ACC revenue distribution,” FSU President Richard McCollough said at a board meeting earlier this month.
A couple of Florida State trustees took it even further.
“A solution under the current TV deal very unlikely. Leads us to what’s next? The alternative for us staying in this conference for the next 13 years is death by a 1,000 papercuts. Waiting is not the answer,” trustee Justin Roth said. Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported that Roth also said Florida State needs an exit plan in the next 12 months.
“It’s not a matter of if we leave, but how and when we leave,” trustee Drew Weatherford said.
But while Florida State appears to be angling toward the SEC, it doesn’t appear as if the interest is mutual.
G Sankey said it w/o saying it just now: Any SEC expansion candidate has to bring pro rata. That was clearly a message to FSU which … doesn't.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) August 8, 2023
And the current ACC’s current TV deal with ESPN runs through the 2036 season, and ESPN has a very tight hold on revenue even in the event of an exit. It would take a costly legal battle to get out of the ACC at this point.
Due to the deal, the league is ultimately in a bind. With 13 years remaining on the deal, it will be tough for any program to exit the conference because of complicated grant of rights — any TV deal revenue belongs to ESPN through the duration of the deal, regardless of an exit — and exit fees in place. In the event a program exits the ACC, a buyout fee (which is upwards of $120 million) will need to be met, and the grant of rights will take away all TV deal revenue during the duration of the deal — 13 years currently. ESPN owns the TV rights, so it would be very, very hard to get out of that.
But the ACC hasn’t just been involved in exit rumors though either. The ACC as a whole — along with Notre Dame, who voted as a full member — failed to reach the 12 vote threshold to add Pac-12 holdovers Cal and Stanford and AAC member SMU. Pitt was one of the most vocal schools in favor of expansion while Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State were against it.
Pat Narduzzi touched upon the realignment craze in college athletics earlier this month, voicing his opinion that the current college football landscape is driven by financial opportunity.
“I think it’s crazy,” Narduzzi said. “I think it’s all money driven, which is sad. You look at different conferences across the country where they’re going from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and it just doesn’t make sense financially, especially for other sports. I just think it’s crazy. The one thing Commissioner Phillips has done is keep stability in the ACC and everyone can talk about how they didn’t expand, but they’re looking for the right fit, and it’s got to be the right fit.”
It seems as though the ACC currently sees fit — collectively — to stand pat. No expansion but also no exits either.