Florida St. gives fast OK to ACC invitation

September 14, 1990|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Evening Sun Staff

It's official: Florida State University is the ninth member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The school's Board of Trustees today unanimously approved a recommendation from school president Bernard Sliger to join the ACC, just hours after the league extended Florida State an invitation.

"It's an achievement for Florida State when you consider where we were 15 years ago in regard to this," Sliger said. "If someone would have told me we'd be a likely candidate for a major all-sports conference ... personally, I feel very, very good about what's happened."

"I think it's a terrific opportunity for us in terms of every aspect of athletics, in terms of how they view athletics and how we view athletics," Sliger said. "This is the fast lane, and we would hope we can keep up."

Athletic director Bob Goin said the invitation was an honor, calling the ACC the "most highly respected academic and athletic conference in the United States."

Officials from Florida State and the ACC are scheduled to hold a joint press conference in Tallahassee tomorrow to discuss terms and conditions for entrance.

By the time the final ACC vote came last night, only Duke and Maryland were said to have had reservations about expansion, and sources said both approved of Florida State if expansion was inevitable.

Sue Tyler, acting athletic director at Maryland, said today that the school's reluctance was not over Florida State, but for the need to expand at all.

"We had some concerns about where the ACC was going to go," said Tyler. "The ACC has been such a close-knit type of family for so long. We wanted more facts and more time."

The conference had informally rejected the concept of expansion earlier in the year, but had slowly warmed to the notion after Penn State joined the Big Ten this spring and Arkansas left the Southwest Conference for the SEC last month.

Tyler said many Maryland officials -- including President William E. Kirwan, the school's athletic council, Kirwan's cabinet and faculty representative, as well as incoming athletic director Andy Geiger -- had been in consultation.

Geiger, who will leave Stanford to come to Maryland next month, had been opposed to Pac-10 expansion, and brought his concerns east. But Tyler said his were not the first nor only negative views expressed.

"The athletic council had met prior to his (Geiger) being named," said Tyler. "This just solidified a position that was already beginning to form."

Tyler said the inclusion of Florida State will add an estimated $50,000-$80,000 to the Maryland athletic budget, at a time when the department is already facing a deficit of between $3.5 and 4 million.

"We have a ten-year plan and we have to stay within it, as best we can," said Tyler.

Still, once the decision was made to expand, Tyler said Maryland wholeheartedly welcomed the Seminole program aboard.

"When the facts were presented to us, it seemed like a good match," said Tyler. "They're a good school. They're going to bring a good balance to the conference and open it up to some good markets."

Wayne Hogan, Florida State's athletics communications director, said the school could be ready to join the ACC in basketball, baseball and non-revenue sports as early as the 1991-92 year.

The transition time for football, where Florida State is a perennial power, could be as long as four or five years, Hogan said. "We'd have to do some finagling our way out of some contracts and buy our way out of others."

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