Florida State University Emergency Meeting

A cryptic AP report circulating this morning:

Florida State University Board of Trustees will meet in an emergency session to discuss matters related to operation of the school.

The meeting is planned for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

No further details were immediately available.

Presumably, it’s relating to this news:

Eric Barron isn’t sure when his last day at Florida State University will be.

Barron, FSU’s president since 2010, is expected to be named Penn State’s next president when its board of trustees meets on Monday.

As for Barron’s departure from FSU, that will be up to the trustees at Florida State, Barron said Saturday in an interview with the Democrat.

“Nobody cares for a lame duck and how they might perform,” he said. “My view is, I am committed to do whatever it takes so it works however Florida State needs to have it work. My board (FSU) needs to be in the driver’s seat.”

News of Barron’s pending exit came without warning Friday afternoon. It was first reported on a Penn State student blog and spread quickly from Pennsylvania to Tallahassee, where FSU’s leadership team was taken by surprise. David Coburn, Barron’s chief of staff, first learned about his boss’ departure Friday afternoon.

Barron, 62, has enjoyed widespread respect and admiration at FSU, in the greater Tallahassee community and even in Florida’s Capitol. [I should note that Tallahasse is Florida’s capital. – JHJ] Under his leadership, FSU has been ranked the most efficient university in the country the past two years and it has steadily moved up in the national rankings. Five weeks ago, Barron was on the field of the Rose Bowl sharing in the celebration of his alma mater’s football national championship amid falling garnet and gold confetti.

“People would be surprised at how much pain is associated with leaving Florida State,” Barron said. “It is awfully hard.”

I can’t imagine wanting to leave Tallahassee at age 62 to live in Happy Valley. The lure of returning to one’s alma mater is powerful. Bear Bryant’s leaving Texas A&M to coach Alabama and Roy Williams leaving Kansas to return to North Carolina come immediately to mind. But Barron got his undergraduate degree at FSU! Then again,

Barron was on the faculty at Penn State for 20 years, from 1986 to 2006, and State College is where they raised their two children. Barron rose at Penn State from professor to director of the Earth System Science Center.

Additionally, the lure of righting the ship at Penn State, which was rocked a couple years back with the Joe Paterno-Jerry Sandusky scandal, has to be attractive. There’s not much more Barron can do at FSU.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Barron, 62, has enjoyed widespread respect and admiration at FSU, in the greater Tallahassee community and even in Florida’s Capitol. [I should note that Tallahasse is Florida’s capital. – JHJ]

    Not “capital” — “Capitol”. As in the specific building where the legislature meets.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Sure. But the fact that FSU is one of the state’s two flagship universities and is located in the capital city makes the “even” rather amusing. You’d think FSU’s president would have a lot of pull in Tallahassee.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t get the allure. It seems to me that the President of a football university is fairly meaningless. You essentially have no control over what is by far the reason for the universities existence: it’s professional sports program. And despite having no ability to influence that juggernaut in any way, you will serve as the scapegoat when it erupts into scandal.

    If I were a betting man I would peg The FSU program as about to erupt in one of those scandals. And a 62 year old man is heading out the door before it takes him down in the twilight of his career. Caveat: I know nothing about FSU and have never followed professional college sports at any university.

  4. EddieInCA says:

    Dr. Joyner, if you’ve ever been to Tallahassee, you’d know why he’d make such a decision. It’s horrible there. Tallahassee is Orlando without the theme parks, restaurants, and charm (yes, that’s sarcasm.). It’s all heat and humidty. It’s one of the worst places I’ve ever had the misfortune of working. I spent three months there. I vowed never to go back. Since then, I’ve only driven through. I won’t even stop to spend a night there.

  5. HelloWorld! says:

    @James Joyner: Its one of the states 3 flagship universities. Don’t leave out University of South Florida!

  6. socraticsilence says:

    There is a title IX suit being filed against the school by several women alleging an atmosphere of hostility regarding rape. Which given PSU could put a school on high alert.

  7. Pinky says:

    We’ve got to stop thinking of 62 as the twilight of a non-laborer’s career. It’s late afternoon.

  8. @MarkedMan: I guess you don’t know it’s ranked #91 of out national universities by U.S. News & World Report?

  9. Barfour says:

    Speaking of university presidents, when might we hear that Dr. Joyner have been named as the president of an (ivy league) university?