AMELIA ISLAND — Rumors surrounding Florida State's possible move to the Big 12 continue to swirl. And Wednesday, former FSU and Bucs star linebacker Derrick Brooks became involved.
During an interview on Tim Brando's radio show, Brooks, a former member of FSU's board of trustees, said the Big 12 reached out to FSU.
"From our understanding, it is the Big 12 wanting to talk to us," Brooks told Brando, also a football and basketball play-by-play man for CBS.
FSU and the Big 12 said there have been no discussions.
But Brooks, whose term on the board of trustees ended last year, said there have been plenty of talk.
"This is nothing new," he said.
FSU athletic director Randy Spetman, attending the ACC's spring meetings, neither confirmed nor denied Brooks' statement, telling the Orlando Sentinel only, "I don't know where Derrick got that."
Speculation on FSU's future built Friday, when Spetman said the school is committed to the ACC. Saturday, football coach Jimbo Fisher and Andy Haggard, the chairman of the board of trustees, said the school should look into joining the Big 12. Haggard cited the Big 12's television contract, which is worth about $3 million more per school than the one the ACC recently agreed to.
Late Saturday, school president Eric Barron affirmed the commitment to the ACC. And Monday, he sent an email listing the pros and cons of changing conferences, concluding it was best to stay in the ACC.
The Big 12 currently has 10 teams, two shy of what's needed to stage a football title game. Over the past two years, it has lost Colorado to the Pac-12, Nebraska to the Big Ten and Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC while adding TCU and West Virginia from the Big East.
Tuesday, new commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league will discuss expansion during its spring meetings that begin May 30.
"Conference realignment will continue to be an issue and one we all have to be vigilant about," said Bowlsby, who did not mention any schools.
Brooks said FSU will hear what the Big 12 has to say.
"It's no doubt that we're going to listen," he said. "It's no harm in listening to what the pitch is. From our president's standpoint, he was just attempting to put things out there from his perspective: 'These are the pros as I see it, and these are the cons as I see it.' Hopefully by the Big 12 courting us, it gives the ACC that much more credibility."
ACC commissioner John Swofford said the FSU-Big 12 rumors weren't discussed during the meetings that concluded Wednesday.
Asked if he believes FSU will leave, Swofford, whose conference is adding Syracuse and Pittsburgh at an undetermined time, made his point clear.
"I don't deal in hypotheticals," he told the Orlando Sentinel. "I deal with what is tangible and what we are doing as a league with the current 12 soon-to-be 14 membership league.
"As an AD in this league, I was on the site visit in 1991 on behalf of the conference when Florida State joined the league. And I think it has been and I would anticipate that it will continue to be a very beneficial relationship with both parties, which it should be. Florida State's program has emerged across the board during that time, and it's been good for Florida State and for the Atlantic Coast Conference"
Swofford urged caution when dealing with rumors about conference realignment.
"It's just part of the landscape in today's world," Swofford said. "You have to take into account a lot of things are said on this subject. You read a lot. You hear a lot that is inaccurate and unfounded information."
"It's no doubt that we're going to listen. It's no harm in listening to what the pitch is."
Derrick Brooks, former Florida State and Bucs linebacker on the Big 12 possibly adding FSU