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Noles News: New report provides details on FSU’s private equity discussions

All the latest in Florida State Seminoles sports

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Recruiting

Keep up with all things Florida State recruiting in Tomahawk Nation’s official recruiting thread:

Florida State football: 2025 commits

QB 4-star Tramell Jones Jr.

LB 4-star Ethan Pritchard

OL 5-star Solomon Thomas

DL 4-star Javion Hilson

Football

Great work from the Tampa Bay Times, who broke down more than 2,500 pages of public records to give some insight into Florida State’s pursuit of private equity funding:

The best explanation comes in a September 2022 email from Ken Artin, a public finance attorney at the firm Bryant Miller Olive. State agencies, he wrote, generally can’t become a “joint venture partner, equity partner and anything that looks like that” with a for-profit company. But there’s a workaround, which he called a “super license agreement.”

FSU can move its intellectual property (like logos and names) to a new university entity. That new entity could license the intellectual property to someone else (a private-equity firm). The firm would then try to profit off that licensed material by using it better, more efficiently or in new ways.

Within six months, that proposed non-profit entity had a name: FSU NewCo. The specific intellectual property available from FSU NewCo is redacted.

In November 2022, at least two scenarios had $250 million in private equity.

A second set of figures comes from an “ACC Upside” model in January 2023. It lists a $75 million initial investment plus a $50 million “follow-up equity investment” four years later. By 2032, it projects FSU’s 2032 cash flow to be $197 million — $46 million more than the “No Investment” scenario.

An email from an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell outlines FSU’s proposals in June: $25 million upfront, another $125 million under redacted circumstances plus up to $200 million in future debt “without consent and without additional limitations.”

One of the “next steps” listed in October 2022: “Determine use of proceeds, especially in a ‘no realignment’ scenario.” By January 2023, there was a “Leave ACC” budget model. Its commentary is partially redacted, but conference payouts spike from $43 million in 2025 to $96.4 million the next year.

Football ticket revenue for home games jumps, too. Its 2026 projections are $18.6 million — $3.2 million more than the “Base Case” — in part because of “post-ACC-exit ticket prices in-line with peers.”

Projections for 2026 include naming rights to FSU’s football home, formally called Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. FSU’s Year 1 revenue ranges from $1.5 million to $5 million, depending on the document and its assumptions. Sponsorship for the basketball arena, the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, adds another $800,000-$2.6 million.

Multiple budgets add a concert series at Doak (four shows with 50,000 spectators each, according to an August model). FSU eventually expects these two revenue streams to top $10 million per year.

The document lists a $75 million expense for FSU in the 2027 fiscal year for a new baseball stadium; the Seminoles’ Dick Howser Stadium is four decades old. FSU’s baseball revenue nearly doubles to $2.75 million.

A new revenue source also appears in ’27: “Minor League Baseball Team.” It initially adds a combined $4.1 million in tickets, sponsorship/licensing and facilities. The idea is cited in at least one other document but never detailed.

Basketball

Florida State men’s basketball snapped an eight-year streak on Tuesday, taking down Boston College on the road for the first time since 2016.

From Matt Minnick:

After an abysmal performance in Louisville on Saturday, FSU (13-9, 7-4) came out and led Boston College (13-9, 4-7) for nearly 38 minutes. And yet, the game wasn’t decided until the final seconds. After an early 15 point lead, BC whittled away until it was just a one-point game with 10 seconds remaining. But the Seminoles’ defense came up with a big stop when it mattered most and Florida State escaped with a 63-62 road victory. Jamir Watkins led FSU with 10 points and 6 rebounds, and he made several massive plays late to help secure the win.

Jalen Warley makes FSU better. His disruptiveness and positional size on defense is key to FSU getting stops without fouling, either from his deflections/steals or his defensive rebounds. And his patience and hoops IQ on offense is enough to off-set his weakness on his jumper. It’s no surprise that FSU’s double digit leads in the first half came with Warley on the court.

I have no idea why Taylor Bol Bowen only played 7 minutes in the loss against Louisville, but the freshman absolutely needs more than that. Tonight he made contributions all over the court, scoring at all three levels, rebounding at both ends, forcing turnovers (including a huge steal at half-court when the game was tied at 52), making chase down blocks, and dropping off dimes for teammates. Whew. I’m tired just typing it. He flashed his NBA potential tonight, I just hope he sticks around for another season to truly live into his potential.

For much of the season Coach Hamilton has said he expected this team to be a better perimeter shooting team than it’s shown, but after 22 games it seems pretty clear we are not a great shooting team...or even a good one. Shooting just 32.5% from deep coming into the game, the ‘Noles were only 5-19 from three in this one. This clear weakness allows opponents to sag off shooters and take away the slashing and penetration to the basket that should be a strength for FSU. All of this is a big part of why FSU’s offense is not even top 120 in the nation.

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