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ACC’s ‘resource issues’ a reason why Jimbo Fisher left FSU?

By Matt Baker
Jimbo Fisher is now the former coach at FSU, and the ACC's financial gap might be one reason why. [ MONICA HERNDON | Times ]

While the ACC is undoubtedly concerned about last week's latest developments in the college basketball scandal, the league should also be worried about this story from CBS' Dennis Dodd about why Jimbo Fisher left Florida State for Texas A&M.

Here's the line that jumps out, from Aggies athletic director Scott Woodward:

"I'm not going to put words in Jimbo's mouth," Woodward told Dodd, "but there are resource issues in the ACC versus the SEC."

Those resource issues are not in dispute, and they're one reason why A&M was able to give Fisher a 10-year, $75 million contract (compared to his $5.55 million salary last season at FSU).

According to its 2015 tax returns, the ACC brought in $373 million in revenue. The league gave member schools between $22 million and $28 million apiece (with the exception of partial member Notre Dame). FSU's cut: $24.8 million.

That same fiscal year, the SEC brought in $639 million in revenue, according to its tax returns. It gave member schools between $39 million and $42 million. A&M's cut: $40.7 million.

That's a pretty big difference.

Fisher didn't seem to mind it when he was at FSU. He talked up the ACC every chance he got. At July's media days in Charlotte, he made headlines by calling the league the "premier conference in college football."

At the time, he was correct. The ACC had the defending national champion (Clemson), defending Orange Bowl champ (FSU) and reigning Heisman Trophy winner (Lamar Jackson), plus more teams with winning records than any other conference.

RELATED: How the ACC became college football's best conference

The conference took a step back in 2017; Fisher's Seminoles were the nation's biggest underachievers.

But the league is a better football conference than it used to be. That makes Woodward's comment stick out even more.

Woodward didn't cite a financial gap between the Aggies and Seminoles. That's obvious; A&M has the richest athletic department in the country, according to USA Today

No, Woodward cited the difference between the ACC and the other Power Five conference in its own region.

You could argue that the discrepancy might not matter too much on a practical level; will a great weight room lead to that many more wins than a weight room that is merely good? And maybe the ACC's planned TV network (coming in 2019) trims the deficit some.

But the gap exists, even has the football quality has risen. The discrepancy is large enough that it's one reason why the coach with the highest winning percentage in ACC history left one of its marquee programs to join a team that last won a national title in 1939.

What does that say about ACC football's future?