Florida State University has engaged in substantial discussions regarding its long-term affiliation with the ACC, sources revealed to ESPN. These discussions were rekindled following the Seminoles’ exclusion from the College Football Playoff earlier this month. Despite completing an undefeated 12-0 regular season and securing the ACC championship, the playoff snub frustrated many within the university and its board of trustees. This dissatisfaction adds to a year of discontentment with the conference.
While the situation is approaching a critical juncture and is expected to be officially addressed soon, no board of trustees meeting has been scheduled at this point. It’s essential to clarify that Florida State has not made immediate plans to leave the ACC; instead, the university is exploring its options, a process that has raised concerns among some involved in these deliberations.
Florida State has been vocal about its concerns over the revenue disparity between the ACC and other conferences, the ACC’s revenue distribution methods, and the university’s share of television revenue. Florida State believes its share should be more substantial, considering its ratings and marketability. Recent developments in the college sports landscape have exacerbated these concerns, as the ACC has fallen further behind the SEC and the Big Ten. Florida State is not alone in contemplating its future within the ACC, as seven other universities—Clemson, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and NC State—explored their long-term prospects earlier this year.
During an August board of trustees meeting, Florida State President Richard McCullough emphasized that the school would seriously consider leaving the conference if changes were not forthcoming. Any ACC member school desiring to depart the conference would need to challenge the grant of rights, which extends through 2036, granting the ACC control over media rights for its member institutions, including the broadcasting of all sporting events. Additionally, any school seeking to exit the ACC would be required to pay an exit fee equivalent to three times the conference’s operating budget, approximately $120 million.