Florida State to Big 12 rumors back? FSU prez watching Maryland closely

Streeter Lecka

Florida State president Eric Barron is keeping a close eye on Maryland, and the $50 million dollar exit fee the Terrapins could whittle down while leaving the ACC for the Big Ten.

College conference realignment is once again in the forefront of the sports world. On Monday, Maryland's Board of Regents approved a move from the ACC to the Big Ten conference, effective for the 2014-15 academic year.

Maryland's move could have a domino effect on the rest of the college landscape. Rutgers is expected to approve a move from the Big East to the Big 10 on Tuesday, further strengthening the Big 10.

The Big 12, meanwhile, has yet to join in any new realignment, but Florida State could once again become a target for the conference.

Florida State had previously been linked to the Big 12 over the summer, but nothing of substance ever materialized from all the rumors. With the ACC's landscape suddenly shifting, the Seminoles could look to leave the ACC like Maryland, and join a stronger football conference.

Florida State president Eric Barron is keeping a close eye on Maryland, and says he understands why the Terrapins would make such a move -- and the answer is money.

Maryland, as ACC laws currently stand, will have to pay a $50 million dollar exit fee to leave the conference and join the Big 12. Maryland president Wallace D. Loh and Barron were the only two presidents in the league who voted against raising the exit fee in September. And if Maryland's able to pay less than $50 million, that should mean FSU would be able to do the same.

If Florida State is going to seriously look at joining the Big 12, Barron and other board members will have to carefully weigh the exit fee against potential revenues that joining the Big 12 would bring in. For Barron and Florida State, Maryland is a perfect guinea pig, as they watch realignment unfold.

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