Two lessons learned in the past week. Realignment is far from over and bigger is not always better.
First, realignment. The latest scuttlebutt has Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference taking an interest in joining the Big 12. As usual, the Seminoles' curiosity starts and ends with money.
Chip Brown of Orangebloods first reported on possible benefits to Florida State last Wednesday after the ACC announced it had reached a new 15-year, $3.6 billion TV deal with ESPN. That pact will last until 2027 and was said to be worth $240 annually to the conference, or $17.14 million per school. At first glance, it sounds like a terrific score, up from the approximate $13 million each school was receiving in the current TV deal.
But Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports! reported that the agreement is actually backloaded and the initial bump in revenue is around $1 million per school. The additional $4 million wouldn't be realized until 2021.
This didn't go over well in many ACC circles, but it really hit below the belt in Tallahassee. Florida State is facing an athletics department shortfall of $2.4 million for the 2012-13 season, according to Warchant.com.
Florida State Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard was among the most outspoken critics. He told Warchant: "On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State's best interest."
Florida State president Eric Barron then tried to put out firestorm by issuing a statement Saturday night that said the school "is not seeking an alternative to the ACC nor are we considering alternatives."
The ACC''s spring meetings start Monday in Amelia Island, Fla. Should make for some interesting backroom discussions.
And this leads to a debunking of the theory that bigger better. The ACC is expected to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh, likely for the 2013-14 seasons, bringing its membership to 14.
That means the new deal will be sliced in more shares than the Pacific 12, which reached a 12-year, $3 billion TV contract with ESPN and Fox last year. The Pac-12 deal works out to be $20.8 million for each member school, outpacing the ACC's just signed $17.14 million per school.
Of course, the Pac-12's deal didn't sit well with the Southeastern Conference, which views itself as the dominant brand in college football. The SEC reacted by raiding the Big 12 for Texas A&M and Missouri, sending its membership to 14 and forcing a renegotiation of its TV rights. The current speculation has the SEC commanding around $300 million annually for its TV rights, or more than $21 million per member.
An expected new TV deal for the Big 12 is for 13 years and $2.6 billion, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. It will break down to an average of $20 million a school through 2025.
All of which makes the backloaded deal the ACC just agreed to seem not so great.
Image courtesy of 30fps.