All eyes on Florida State, ACC as decision date looms
The Aug. 15 deadline for leaving the ACC ahead of 2024 is almost here. Does FSU have an ace in the hole? Or is the school's posturing nothing more than smoke and mirrors?
It’s been 11 days since Florida State’s board of trustees chair said the ACC’s grant of rights will not stand in FSU’s way to leave the conference. It’s been 10 days since the school’s president threatened to leave the ACC during a trustees meeting. And it’s been eight days since word leaked of the Seminoles’ efforts to raise money through private equity.
But the day that matters most for everyone in the ACC remains three days away: Tuesday, Aug. 15.
That’s the deadline for any ACC school to leave for the 2024-25 season.
Will Florida State — or any other school, for that matter — find a way out by then?
The math is certainly working against them, as is the apparent marketplace. Not that that’s stopped the Seminoles from trying, both publicly and privately.
The public part has been shoved in everyone’s face, from board chair Peter Collins giving a candid interview last week to Warchant TV, to president Robert McCullough saying at a board meeting the following day that Florida State “will have to at some point consider very seriously leaving the ACC unless there were a radical change to the revenue distribution."
That has not sat well with most in the ACC, as the Seminoles’ concerns are not particularly unique within the conference. Only the school’s outward approach is. And that approach has been so bold, and so loud, that many inside and outside the conference are left wondering if the ’Noles have some sort of ace in the hole.
Let’s break it all down ahead of decision day.
Is private equity in college athletics a new reality?
The private movement within Florida State came to light last week through a Sportico story that said the school’s athletics department was working with JPMorgan Chase to look into private equity options — an unprecedented move during an unprecedented time in college sports.
That approach, which has been confirmed by The Inside Zone, has led to a number of questions throughout the industry while also shedding further light on the unique way that Florida State’s athletic department has been set up.
“Someone really needs to talk about FSU,” a Power 5 administrator said. “They incorporated outside the university in 2019 and are now looking for outside capital. That’s going to require a new board that will be 100 percent financially focused and expecting significant returns. It’s huge and nobody is realizing it.”