Florida State University is taking the unusual step of privatizing its athletics department and treating it like a corporation.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the move is aimed at streamlining the relationship between the athletics department and Seminoles Booster Inc., the fundraising arm of the athletics department. It would also shield the athletics department from public-records requests.
FSU’s board voted last week to create Florida State University Athletics Association, which will run the athletics department. Seminole Boosters will in turn report to the FSU athletics director.
“The reorganization of the Seminole Boosters and our Athletics Department will enable FSU to build on the historical success of both organizations,” said board chairman Ed Burr, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “The creation of FSUAA will ensure that the priorities, mission and focus of the boosters, athletics and the administration will be aligned.”
The switch to a private entity would also allow the department all the privileges of a private corporation, including the ability to deny public-records requests, while preserving the organization's sovereign immunity. The immunity clause for state agencies caps any jury judgments or settlements reached by the athletics department at $200,000.
The Sentinel reports that the newly formed FSUAA board will be composed of five voting members, including the FSU president as chair of the board, Florida State’s NCAA faculty athletics representative and the chair of Seminole Boosters Inc. The athletics director will serve as the CEO of FSUAA and have a direct reporting line to the university president.
The changes will be implemented this fall.