The news came out yesterday that Ben Sasse, a Republican US Senator out of Nebraska, is in line to become the new president at the University of Florida. On the surface, this may not seem like it matters that much to Florida football, but Sasse will have some important decisions he will be faced with that will impact the future of the Gators.
Florida football: I really like corn
If you want to dive into Sasse’s political career, there are 20 other outlets you can find to have that discussion. We are here to worry about what impact he will have on Florida football. Sasse does seem like a sports-driven guy that understands the role athletics plays for a university. Even though Sasse attended Harvard and Yale, he has expressed on Twitter his love for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and has praised its fans in the past for sticking it out despite some terrible seasons recently.
With that in mind, Sasse’s first major decision that will impact Florida football will be SEC expansion as a whole. Keep in mind that it is the university presidents that make the final call on expanding a conference. We saw last month that the college presidents in charge of the NCAA football playoffs grew impatient and implemented the expansion themselves.
So if FSU or Miami come crawling to the SEC to seek refuge from the ACC, Sasse might have a major say in whether or not those two can join the conference. We have stated before that conference expansion doesn’t actually help Florida football moving forward.
The other major decision Sasse might be faced with is what to do with Scott Stricklan if for some reason Billy Napier doesn’t pan out. Stricklan hired Dan Mullen only to fire him four years later, and if Napier is forced to be let go Stricklan will be looking for his third coach in under ten years. College presidents typically grow impatient around the third hire.
There of course will be other decisions Sasse will have a hand in. He will have to balance Florida being a top five public university in the nation while still having a pathway for Florida football to enroll and keep players that are NCAA eligible but otherwise wouldn’t be accepting into Florida if it wasn’t for football. While Florida just unveiled its new athletic training center, discussions about whether or not to renovate The Swamp and make it smaller still persist.
Sasse is a smart enough guy to weigh the pros and cons of all of the choices he will be faced with. Whether he makes the correct call is still to be determined.