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Florida State Seminoles president denies interest going to Big 12

Florida State president Eric Barron said "misinformation" about the ACC's new TV contract prompted discussion about a move to the Big 12 but the school is not looking to leave.

The statement came late Saturday, the same day football coach Jimbo Fisher and board of trustees chairman Andy Haggard said FSU should look at the Big 12 and a day after athletic director Randy Spetman said it was "committed to the ACC."

Fisher did not mention the recently announced deal with ESPN when talking to the Seminole Club of Greater Orlando, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"There have been no talks, but I think you always have to look out there to see what's best for Florida State," he said. "If (going to the Big 12) is what's best for Florida State, then that's what we need to do."

But Haggard did when talking to Warchant.com, a website that covers FSU. He said the board would be open to exploring a move if it meant more revenue. FSU's athletic department faces a $2.4 million shortfall for its 2012-13 budget.

"I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer," he said.

The Kansas City Star reported Saturday that the 10-team Big 12 has not talked to any school since Bob Bowlsby became commissioner on May 4.

The source of Haggard's unhappiness is the deal that will net each school about $17 million annually (about a $4 million increase) through 2026-27. Big 12 schools, even before adding a potential football power in FSU, will earn $20 million while SEC teams will earn about $25 million. So over the span of the ACC's 16-year contract, FSU potentially will earn $128 million less than rival Florida in the SEC.

Another issue is third-tier rights. Haggard said the ACC deal allows ESPN to keep them for football but not basketball. However, the ACC told the Star that ESPN will keep the third-tier rights for both.

First-tier rights are for games airing on national TV, second-tier for games on regional networks such as Sun Sports. Third-tier are for any other games and can air via pay-per-view, Internet or school- or conference-affiliated networks such as the Big Ten Network and Texas' Longhorn Network.

Schools that hold third-tier rights don't share that revenue with other conference members. Giving them up for football could hurt schools with strong followings such as FSU and Miami. Keeping them for basketball likely means more revenue for schools with strong followings such as North Carolina and Duke. Currently, all Big 12 and SEC schools keep third-tier rights.

"It continues the perception that the ACC favors the North Carolina schools," Haggard said.

Barron did not specify the "misinformation."

"Florida State University regrets that misinformation about the provisions of the ACC contract has unnecessarily renewed the controversy and speculation about university's athletic conference alignment," his statement read. "Of course, any university would examine options that would impact university academics, athletics or finances. At the same time, Florida State is not seeking an alternative to the ACC nor are we considering alternatives."

USF Hall of Fame: Ex-athletic director Lee Roy Selmon and basketball stars Chucky Atkins and Jessica Dickson will be inducted into USF's Hall of Fame on Sept. 28, the school announced. Selmon, the NFL Hall of Famer for the Bucs, helped start USF's football program, was AD from 2001-04 and later helped fundraising. Atkins, a guard from 1992-96, saw his jersey retired in 2001 and played 11 seasons in the NBA. Dickson, a forward from 2003-07, scored 2,402 points, a school record among men and women.

softball: Alabama (50-7) scored six in the third and beat Florida 10-1 in the SEC final. The Gators (46-11) await their seeding for the NCAA tournament, which will be announced tonight (10, ESPNU).

Women's lacrosse: Shannon Gilroy scored twice as host Florida (18-2) beat Albany (12-6) 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. The Gators, the top seed, host Penn State on Saturday.

tennis: Florida's women beat visiting Washington State 6-0 to reach the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. UF faces Michigan on Thursday in Athens, Ga. … Florida's men beat visiting Navy 4-0 in the first round. UF hosts Harvard at 2 today.

Football: Three Arkansas players — receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey and tight end Andrew Peterson — were indefinitely suspended a few hours after being arrested and charged with burglarizing dorm rooms.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Florida State Seminoles president denies interest going to Big 12 05/12/12 [Last modified: Sunday, May 13, 2012 1:01am]
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