Nov 4, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; A Florida State Seminoles helmet on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The drama around Florida State continues.

After the undefeated ACC champion was unceremoniously left on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoff, it has set off a firestorm the likes of which we may have never seen before in college football. Fans have been irate, conspiracy theories have been launched, and all kinds of politicians have tried to get involved. But the one thing that truly matters is how the school is planning to respond, and it could once again blow up college football as we know it.

What has been suspected for a long time appears as if it’s finally coming to fruition with the CFP snub being the final straw. According to multiple reports, Florida State will call an emergency board of trustees meeting to begin the process to challenge the ACC’s grant of rights and exit the conference.

Via ESPN‘s Andrea Adelson:

Florida State has called a special board of trustees meeting for Friday morning.

While no official reason was given for the meeting, sources indicated to ESPN that the board is expected to discuss its long-term athletics future.

The meeting, announced Thursday, comes nearly three weeks after the Seminoles became the first undefeated Power 5 champion left out of the College Football Playoff, a decision that angered university officials, its board and athletic department after a year spent voicing their unhappiness with the ACC for a host of reasons — including a widening revenue gap with other conferences, revenue distribution and its place in the collegiate landscape.

Any ACC school that wants to leave the conference would have to challenge the grant of rights. Florida State and all other ACC members signed a grant of rights with the league that runs through 2036, the length of its television contract with ESPN, that gives the league control over its media rights — including television revenue and home game broadcasts in all sports. In addition, any school that wants to leave the ACC would have to pay an exit fee of three times the league’s operating budget, or roughly $120 million.

The question of whether a school can actually leave the ACC with their grant of rights agreement that binds the conference together with each other and ESPN has always been tenuous. And it all comes down to the fact that the ACC has fallen greatly behind the power curve of the Big Ten and the SEC when it comes to their television revenue. The ACC is locked into a TV contract with ESPN until 2036 that is placing the conference hundreds of millions of dollars behind the new Power 2 in revenue while the SEC and Big Ten have expanded and seen their TV deals skyrocket in value. And while a temporary fix was put in place in the spring to placate larger schools, it was nothing more than a piece of bubble gum in the leaking dam. Florida State (and the rest of the ACC) knows that right now they’ll play second fiddle to the SEC at ESPN for the next decade-plus. It’s just that the Seminoles are desperate enough to try to do something about it.

For Florida State, it might finally be a matter of “get rich or die trying.” It could be why they’ve tried to look at private equity investments to infuse cash in the athletic department if they can negotiate an exit with an astronomical price tag. If FSU were to leave the ACC and land with the Big Ten or SEC then they could theoretically make up whatever exit fee there is. And then they would finally get the respect they feel like they deserve.

Would the Big Ten or SEC be interested? One would think the Big Ten’s nationwide expansion would make sense to finally come to the south. And if that’s the case and Florida State leaves, it’s not a massive leap to see other schools quickly following the Seminoles out the exit door. The next domino to fall would be the inevitable collapse of the ACC where it would join the Pac-12 in the dustbin of history. And it all could start unraveling this week.