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Watch: DeSantis seeks $1 million for FSU to sue over football playoff exclusion

Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed Florida State University being excluded from the four-team college football playoffs despite going undefeated and winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title while presenting his 2024-25 Florida budget proposal on Dec. 5, 2023.
Gov. Ron DeSantis
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Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed Florida State University being excluded from the four-team college football playoffs despite going undefeated and winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title while presenting his 2024-25 Florida budget proposal on Dec. 5, 2023.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday presented his proposed state budget for the next fiscal year.

He also weighed on what's been top of mind to college football fans across the state and the nation.

DeSantis addressed Florida State University being excluded from the four-team College Football Playoff despite going undefeated and winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title.

Speaking at a middle school in Marco Island, DeSantis discussed how he's acknowledging the decision by the CFP's 13-member committee in his budget proposal.

"We're setting aside $1 million for any litigation expenses that may come as a result of this really, really poor decision by the college football playoffs to exclude an undefeated team who won a Power 5 conference championship," DeSantis said.

He said the money would allow FSU to sue the playoff committee, even though the championship will be decided Jan. 8, months before a budget is approved.

On Sunday, the committee announced that the playoff participants would be Michigan and Washington, both undefeated conference champions, along with one-loss conference winners Texas and Alabama. Florida State was left out because, essentially, starting quarterback Jordan Travis is injured and cannot play,

The format will expand from four to 12 teams next season.

DeSantis, who graduated from Yale University, Harvard Law School and the Naval Justice School, acknowledged he did not attend a Florida university and would "just want us to get back where Miami, Miami, and Florida State were always competing for the national championship. "

He also said he would like to see more of Florida's blue-chip high school recruits remain in-state for college.

DeSantis said an expanded playoff might mean "too many teams" are in the hunt for the championship, and there's a "happy medium" between a playoff and "where the regular season doesn't mean as much anymore."

"If you win and you're undefeated, that should mean something," DeSantis said. "That should really be significant, and they're telling us that it doesn't, that other factors matter more. "

But perhaps the decision was a little more personal.

"The fact that we now live in Tallahassee in the governor's residence, my first-grader, my fifth-grader, and my preschooler — what they know is Tallahassee, and so they are all 'Noles and they are bigtime fans," DeSantis said, smiling. "And they do the tomahawk chop, and they were not happy on Sunday when Florida State was left out of the college football selection show.

“We are going to set aside $1 million and let the chips fall where they may.”

DeSantis' recommendation is simply a suggestion to lawmakers. Once the Legislature agrees on a budget, DeSantis will have power to veto individual items.
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Carl Lisciandrello