ACC: Randy Spetman
- Commissioner John Swofford addressed a wide variety of topics on the David Glenn radio show, including some discussion about having the league title game played on campus.
- Clemson's academic track record is a centerpiece of Dabo Swinney's recruiting pitch.
- Why did Jumichael Ramos flip from Georgia Tech to NC State?
- Maryland coach Randy Edsall appears on another hot seat list. Joining him on this one -- UVa coach Mike London.
- Outgoing North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp once again says presidents should stay out of athletics matters.
- The timing of Randy Spetman's reassignment is odd, but the decision is not.
- North Carolina, Duke and NC State have moved up in the Directors' Cup standings.
- How did Syracuse land Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen?
- Virginia Tech picked up a commitment from Hampton Roads area receiver Jaylen Bradshaw.
- Orlando is the natural choice to replace Atlanta as the ACC's top bowl destination after the Orange Bowl and playoff.
- Don't expect an ACC Network any time soon.
Modern ADs know how to connect to fans, to donors, to booster groups. Modern ADs know how to squeeze money out of places where there is no money. Modern ADs come up with innovative revenue streams, to augment the bottom line as programs compete every single day against each other for the biggest budget and, in turn, the biggest facilities.
Randy Spetman was simply not the picture of a modern AD. That is through no fault of his own. Spetman was brought in by another president, during a time of NCAA issues, and was never really seen as a strong leader. Today, athletic departments need strong leaders. Perhaps that is one reason why he is taking on another role, as senior advisor to the athletics department.
Spetman, however, was putting together a five-year strategic plan for Florida State, to be presented Thursday at a board of trustees meeting. He believed in the plan, and thought that would give him more time. Give Spetman credit for his accomplishments. Florida State has had no NCAA issues since his arrival, a major plus considering the problems that predated him. He got the indoor football practice facility done. And the teams within the athletic department reached unprecedented heights.
But many times over the past several years, Florida State made headlines for issues a stronger AD may have handled better. And many of those issues surrounded one major problem -- money. The Noles had budget problems; they had home attendance problems; and, of course, they had conference problems caused by board of trustees members who saw more dollar signs in a different neighborhood.
Spetman handled the shenanigans over Big 12 speculation last year poorly, scurrying away from reporters while failing to attack the issue head on. It was Barron who took the lead in making sure the Noles were on board with the recently signed grant of rights, solidifying conference stability, not Spetman.
But that whole episode illustrated a great problem Florida State has faced under Spetman and will continue to face when a new athletic director arrives: The Noles make heaps of cash, yes. But not nearly as much as in-state rival Florida, nor other elite programs the Noles compete with for recruits and championships. Coach Jimbo Fisher has patterned his program after his experiences coaching at LSU and with Nick Saban. But he also knows reality -- he does not have the cash or the resources of a wide variety of those SEC schools.
How then to get there? Finding bigger, better more revenue streams. The best ADs today have mastered that. These days, a background in sales and marketing is almost a must. Having said that, the new AD must also be able to handle the big personalities both Fisher and Barron bring to their respective programs. Florida State needs an athletic director both coaches and Barron can listen to and trust. Fans need to believe in the new AD, too. There never was that belief in Spetman for a variety of reasons.
Essentially, Florida State now needs an AD everybody can rally around for this program to keep moving forward.
Here is the entire statement from Barron:
Effective today, Florida State University Athletics Director Randy Spetman will take on a new role as senior advisor to the Athletics Department.
During his five-year tenure, Randy established an enviable record for Florida State Athletics and has done so with the highest level of integrity and commitment.
I am pleased, therefore, that through mutual agreement, Randy will continue to advance the Athletics Department’s Strategic Plan by working with a full range of stakeholders to gather additional information that will help shape the future of Florida State athletics.
He has agreed to take on this position through the length of his current contract, which ends in February (2014).
Randy is a person of incredible character and impressive dedication to athletics. He is truly appreciated by our student athletes, because they know he genuinely cares about their success.
The overall performance of our athletic activities under his leadership, as reflected by our stellar standing in the Director’s Cup, has been the highest during the past three years in the history of the institution despite an athletics budget that is considerably smaller than athletics programs of peer universities.
What’s more, Randy oversaw those accomplishments while always ensuring compliance with NCAA rules and regulations.
I have appointed Senior Associate Athletic Director Vanessa Fuchs as the Interim Athletics Director, and the university will soon begin a search for a new director.
- Clemson commit Deshaun Watson talks about his secret visit to Auburn.
- Duke has taken quite the recruiting tact with defensive lineman Harrison Phillips. A Blue Devils assistant has left for Ohio State.
- Never mess with Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman.
- Georgia Tech and South Carolina have canceled their future home-and-home series for 2021 and 2022.
- Maryland has picked up a commitment from a defensive lineman out of Pennsylvania.
- Former Miami running back Najeh Davenport is producing an unofficial Part II to the 30 for 30 documentary "The U." Prayers go out to Hall of Fame Miami quarterback Jim Kelly, diagnosed with jaw cancer.
- Jorge Milian of The Palm Beach Post with a nice profile on Miami athletic director Blake James.
- Athlon Sports makes its 2013 ACC predictions.
- Big bowl upgrade for the ACC.
- Syracuse is eyeing two skill players from Tampa. The Orange picked up their first defensive commitment for 2014.
- Former Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims says his first priority is getting his academics in order. Also included in the story: 2013 quarterback signee Corwin Cutler is headed to Fork Union Military Academy.
- Never too early to look ahead to some top 2015 prospects.
The strategic plan, obtained by ESPN through a freedom of information request, outlines a dozen objectives Spetman hopes to achieve during the next five years that includes renovations to facilities, increased media rights opportunities and a focus on increasing attendance across all sports.
"Recent shifts in conference affiliations from coast to coast threaten a level playing field among Division I programs," Spetman writes in a letter that accompanies the document. "Attendance throughout professional and college sports is on the decline and budget constraints grow greater each year with the annual increases in tuition, room and board associated with athletic scholarships. Our plan will put into practice methods that will address these and other challenges over the next five years."
In the document, which has already been distributed to board members, Spetman lays an extensive set of goals, which include a focus on improvements to facilities, increased merchandising opportunities, an investment in recruiting and retaining the top coaches and athletes in the country and numerous options for reducing expenses and generating new forms of revenue to maintain "financial integrity while providing resources required for a top 10 athletic program."
Among the most significant aspects of the proposal are proposed improvements to the fan experience at both the Tucker Center and Doak Campbell Stadium. Plans for new seating and access to air conditioned plazas and other amenities are already in the works at Doak Campbell Stadium, and similar plans are being explored for other areas of the stadium. Bathrooms and concessions will also receive an upgrade, according to the proposed plan.
"We've had a team come in and do a full analysis of the stadium and come up with a plan of how we would retrofit the bowl, how we'd make it more fan friendly," Spetman told ESPN earlier this spring. "It's very expensive, and there's a phasing that would have to go along with that. … What we will do before we implement that is to presell the seats to make sure we have it sold and get our investment back. I would say in the next year or two years, you'll see that being moved forward."
Additionally, plans are being developed for a complete remodel of the Tucker center, which would include a dedicated entrance, improved parking, new seating and redesigned concessions. Previous reports suggest renovations to the Tucker Center could cost in excess of $100 million.
In addition to the new expenses, the proposal sets out a series of options for generating new revenue streams by increasing Florida State's marketing, licensing and merchandising opportunities.
Among the most notable considerations are a plan to solicit input from Nike and other retailers for recommendations on increasing merchandising sales, which could include changes to uniforms, sideline gear and logos aimed at making them more "retail friendly."
The plan also puts a focus on building fan engagement with an emphasis on driving attendance. The plan calls for a renewed emphasis by coaches in engaging with the booster club, increase promotion through internal media outlets, including Seminoles.com, and a focus on using social media to engage directly with fans and "identify and aggressively challenge negative perceptions and misinformation."
The fan outreach also includes a concerted effort to schedule marquee opponents in hopes of boosting dwindling attendance. Florida State's home football schedule in 2013 has met with apathy from a portion of the fan base, but the school has already signed agreements for a neutral-site game with Oklahoma State and with a scheduled home date against Notre Dame in 2014. Spetman said earlier this spring that additional high profile non-conference games were in the works.
The entirety of the strategic plan has been developed over the past year, and Spetman notes that it included input from fans, boosters, coaches, athletes, faculty and staff.
But for all the input, no one may have more riding on the reception of the plan that Spetman, whose contract expires in February of 2014.
"One of the agreements the president and I had was, he wanted a strategic plan for the next five years and my vision for that," Spetman said earlier this spring. "We've spent the last year putting that together … to show where we're going to go and give him some items I can be evaluated on. If he's happy with that and where we're going, then we'll talk about how long I'll get to stay."
Though Fisher maintains the quarterback competition remains open, Winston seemingly emerged as the front-runner to win the job following a spectacular spring game and the eventual transfer of veteran Clint Trickett.
"I’m not going to limit what he does," Fisher said Tuesday during ACC spring meetings. "If that’s something he helps that team with -- he loves football, he loves baseball and we’ll continue to monitor and do the same things we do."
He later added, "You don’t put parameters on people just because somebody else didn’t do it. Charlie [Ward] did it, Deion [Sanders] did it, Sammie Smith did it. Florida State’s had quite a number of them. And [Jameis] continues to do it very well."
Winston juggled both sports throughout spring practice with no problems. He has appeared in 31 baseball games with 26 starts and is batting .293. He also has made 14 appearances as a relief pitcher with a 1.80 ERA.
Fisher has never had a quarterback play two sports. In fact, two-sport athletes are becoming increasingly rare as players become more specialized in one sport.
But Fisher says, "I think the relationship’s gone very well. Testing the waters in spring I thought he handled it extremely well and did very well with it. It goes back to the individual. Is he capable of handling it? And he’s handled it with ease. He’s excelled in both things that he’s done."
A few more notes from Fisher:
- Fisher didn't want to publicly comment on signee Matthew Thomas, who made headlines last week when he said he wanted out of his letter of intent. Athletic director Randy Spetman told The Tallahassee Democrat the school wouldn't release Thomas. Coaches continue to have discussions with his mom to see whether they can get Thomas to come up to Tallahassee. "We're working behind the scenes and I'm not going to comment publicly," Fisher said.
- Fisher also seemed a little surprised that receiver Marvin Bracy decided to quit football to focus on track. "We had a great conversation," Fisher said. "Just he was more undecided about what he wanted to do. I just wanted him to make sure if you’re going to go pro track, is it what’s best for you? Are you going to maximize the money you can make or the opportunity for your life or what’s your education down the road, what’s the big picture? I hope he’s done that."
- Gotta love UNC vs. South Carolina in Charlotte.
- Clemson will rearrange its day so it can play on Thursday night.
- Joe Hamilton is back at Georgia Tech.
- The Hokies will need a big year from Logan Thomas to get the offense going.
- FSU AD Randy Spetman denies any reports that he is a candidate for a job at Rutgers.
- Former UVa star Ronde Barber will retire.
- Here's a look at Virginia Tech's running backs following spring ball.
- Former Cuse coach Doug Marrone was living the good life.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that athletic directors have seen their salaries grow as well.
USA Today, which annually compiles head coaching salaries, recently found FBS athletic directors make an average of $515,000. That is an increase of more than 14 percent since USA Today last reported on AD salaries in 2011.
The ACC beats that average. Of the available salaries compiled by USA Today, ACC athletic directors were set to make an average of $602,829 in 2013. All but two made more than $500,000 -- Kevin Anderson at Maryland ($499,490), and Randy Spetman at Florida State ($350,00).
That doesn't count incoming Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who makes a cool $1.4 million -- the highest paid athletic director at a public school. Only nine athletic directors make $1 million or more. The next highest paid public school AD is Dan Radakovich at Clemson, checking in at $725,000.
Boston College and Miami, two private schools, did not disclose figures.
While Spetman's salary has remained the same for the past several years, it still surprises me that the athletic director at one of the most high-profile football programs in the nation is the lowest paid in his league. And one of the lowest paid in the entire state of Florida. Florida AD Jeremy Foley makes more than $1 million; USF AD Doug Woolard makes nearly $500,000; Todd Stansbury at UCF makes just a smidge more ($375,000); and FIU AD Pete Garcia makes $441,832.
I know Spetman has faced his share of criticism, and the Noles have fought through some financial problems. They do pay Jimbo Fisher $2.75 million -- the highest paid coach in the ACC. But something seems off when the ADs at FIU, UCF and USF make more than the guy at Florida State.
Here are is the complete list of AD salaries in the ACC, thanks to USA Today.
- Tom Jurich, Louisville: $1.4 million*
- Kevin White, Duke, $906,536
- Dan Radakovich, Clemson: $725,000
- Ron Wellman, Wake Forest: $688,000
- Mike Bobinski, Georgia Tech: $625,000
- Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech: $621,529
- Steve Pederson, Pitt: $596,595
- Craig Littlepage, Virginia: $586,750
- Daryl Gross, Syracuse: $570,057
- Bubba Cunningham, North Carolina: $565,000
- Debbie Yow, NC State: $500,000
- Kevin Anderson, Maryland: $499,490**
- Randy Spetman, Florida State: $350,000
- Brad Bates, Boston College: NA
- Blake James, Miami: NA
*Louisville expected to join ACC in 2014
** Maryland will depart ACC in 2014
From David M. Hale: FSU athletics director Randy Spetman has done a lot to retrofit the Seminoles' program while constantly keeping an eye on an uncertain future and a pesky fanbase.
From Corey Dowlar: Florida State added its seventh commitment of the 2014 class with defensive end Blake McClain.
More from Dowlar : FSU DE commit Blake McClain had the athleticism, but hitting the weights has added a power element to his game.
On Saturday, the Seminoles lost a heartbreaker to rival Florida in the final game of the season on their home turf. On Sunday, they lost their leading tackler and star defensive end, Tank Carradine, to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. And on Tuesday, they lost their beloved defensive coordinator, Mark Stoops, to Kentucky. Never mind the constant swirl of rumors about head coach Jimbo Fisher following Stoops into the SEC for another head-coaching gig.
“There were a lot of distractions this week,” FSU athletic director Randy Spetman said.
With a 21-15 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday in the Dr Pepper ACC championship game, the Seminoles knocked any perceived distractions over like bowling pins. There was no sign of a hangover from the Florida game as FSU jumped out to a convincing 21-6 lead at the half. The news about Carradine and Stoops inspired the defense to a game-changing finish in the fourth quarter, as an interception by Karlos Williams sealed the ACC title with about a minute remaining. For a fleeting moment late Saturday night, as confetti scattered in the air and the Seminoles celebrated their first ACC title since 2005, the rest of the college football world was forced to pause and finally let the Noles enjoy themselves.
They earned it.
“We are still ACC champions, and that is one goal,” FSU safety Lamarcus Joyner said. “We had a lot of goals and we met one of them. We have another one in front of us. That makes greatness, grasping opportunities in front of you.”
In order to do that, they had to forget the missed opportunities behind them -- the loss to NC State, the loss to Florida.
There’s no question there was a sense of relief from within the program Saturday night. This is a team that began the season ranked No. 3 in the country. The loss to NC State knocked the Noles out of the national title conversation and will continue to haunt them long after this season ends. Five turnovers in a loss to Florida was another statement opportunity squandered. And with Georgia Tech in position to put together a game-winning drive late in Saturday's game, NC State 2.0 looked like a very real possibility.
It was almost as if you could hear the entire city of Tallahassee exhale all the way in Charlotte when Williams snagged that pick.
“Oh man,” defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said. “Oh, man. We’ve been trying to get here for a long time. That’s why I thank God for letting us win this game and I thank the seniors for helping this program get back to the top and get back into the national title conversations and winning these ACC championships and Orange Bowls and those types of games. We’re Florida State. That’s what’s supposed to happen. It wasn’t nothing miraculous. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”
It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t matter.
Give 'em a break. In the end, Florida State is right where almost everyone predicted this summer it would be: heading to the Discover Orange Bowl. While many will continue to lament what could have been, Florida State is staring down what is: the possibility at a 12-2 season with an ACC title and a BCS win.
Not exactly a five-loss Rose Bowl team, now is it?
“I’m extremely happy for our players because I know how hard it is and how much flak they’ve taken: ‘When are you going to be back, when are you going to win a championship, when are you going to do this,’” Fisher said. “... There’s a point in time you point back and you look at it and you say, ‘That was it.’ That’s the time that you got over the hump and you got there and you didn’t let the circumstances blur your vision, and they did that.”
It doesn’t always have to be about playing in the shadow of the SEC or comparing what’s happening in Charlotte to what’s happening in Atlanta. It wasn’t time to ask whether Fisher was the right man to replace Bobby Bowden. For once -- just once -- it can be simply about putting a trophy in the case and letting a group of players -- kids -- who have been through a lot enjoy it.
“I’ll be extremely proud of it 10, 15 years from now,” quarterback EJ Manuel said. “I’ll be able to say I helped our team get back to where we needed to be as far as the BCS conversation, the national championship conversation and things like that. I want to see greatness from here on out. We have a lot of great players, a lot of great young players, and guys understand what it takes to get to this point, so I don’t see us going back to where we used to be. I think Florida State is back in the conversation.”
Thanks in large part to the defense, which held Georgia Tech and the nation’s No. 3 rushing offense to just 183 rushing yards.
“You didn’t want to work this hard for three years and not be able to finish this,” Stoops said, “because our program, Coach Fisher and the players deserved this win.”
And they deserve to celebrate it -- without any distractions.
From Coley Harvey:
"We're in the ACC. We're committed to the ACC," Spetman said. "That's where our president and the board of trustees has committed to, so we're great partners in the ACC.
"I don't know why people have written that," he later added. "I don't know how they can say that — and I don't mean to pick on the media — but how can the media person come out and say that there was a Florida State person in a meeting that wasn't true? How can they get away with that? To my knowledge, nobody from our organization was there. So I don't know how they can get away with saying that."
As Harvey notes in a follow-up blog post, yes, many are still skeptical about Spetman's comments. We've all seen similar steps throughout conference realignment chatter with the denials and non-denials, which eventually end up meaning nothing. There are plenty of pros and cons for FSU in each conference. I'd have to think right now, however, there is too much working against a move for the Seminoles any time soon.
We’re talking about Savannah State, here, people.
I’m not sure what you were expecting, but this caliber of opponent is right on target, considering the poor timing on West Virginia’s part.
So Florida State opens the season with back-to-back FCS opponents in what will be a less-than-blockbuster September lineup. The good news? The final piece of the scheduling puzzle is in place, the league didn’t have to rearrange the entire schedule and the conference should release it in its entirety soon. Oh, and this lineup should give the offensive line a few weeks to work anymore rookie kinks out. The bad news? Florida State’s strength of schedule isn’t going to get any bonus points this year in the BCS standings.
With that being said, if the Noles are as good as the preseason prognosticators seem to think (again), seven wins should be a given. Florida State should go 4-0 in its nonconference schedule and put itself in position to play for a BCS bowl.
FSU and ACC officials did the best they could under the circumstances to replace the Sept. 8 date with West Virginia. It might have felt like an eternity, but really it only took them about two weeks to find a replacement, and you should still have the entire league schedule by the end of the month.
Savannah State obviously isn’t the ideal opponent for the Noles, but it’s an answer.
Now the bad news: West Virginia has officially backed out of its 2012 game with Florida State scheduled for Sept. 8 in Tallahassee. FSU athletic director Randy Spetman issued the following statement:
“We were informed in writing late Friday afternoon of West Virginia University’s intention to cancel its 2012 football game with Florida State University scheduled for September 8 in Tallahassee. We are disappointed for our coaches, players and fans that this game will not take place as originally scheduled. We now face the challenge of completing our 2012 schedule just seven months before the start of the season. We will work quickly and diligently to fill the hole on our schedule and will communicate with our season ticket holders and fans as the process moves forward.”
“I want to thank Florida State for being proactive and helping our program, our coaching staff and myself,” Fisher said in a prepared statement. “I really appreciate our president, athletic director, trustees and boosters for seeing the vision we have for the program. The help and commitment they are providing will allow us to continue to take things in the direction we want to go. Everything is in place here at Florida State to be very successful and I really appreciate FSU’s commitment to excellence.”
Fisher’s new contract will pay him $2.75 million per year for five years. The additional compensation in his extended contract will come from FSU’s athletics contract with IMG and Nike, and no public or private donations will be used.
“We are extremely pleased that we are able to extend coach Fisher’s contract,” athletic director Randy Spetman said in a prepared statement. “The enthusiasm and momentum within our program is remarkable and we wanted to make sure that continues. The marketplace for coaches is very competitive and we believe this shows a strong commitment by both parties for the future of Seminole football.”
The Seminoles finished the 2010 season with a 10-4 record in Fisher’s first year as head coach with a win against South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A bowl, an appearance in the ACC Championship Game and wins against rivals Miami and Florida.
“We are aware of Ed’s arrest and are gathering the facts of the situation. We have an Athletics Code of Conduct/Discipline Policy in place for all of our student-athletes and once we’ve thoroughly reviewed the details of the incident, we will handle the situation according to that policy.”
Imeokparia played in one game during his redshirt freshman season in 2009.
There will be no further comments from Florida State athletics until the investigation has been completed.