Drew Forrester is right.
(You better make sure you pocket that one away for the future there, Forrester.)
He wrote Saturday morning here at WNST.net that if the University of Maryland were to jump ship from the ACC to the Big Ten (or B1G if you will), the move would be made entirely based on money.
He’s right about that. Of course, as it always is with Drew-he’s not right about everything.
Drew also said such a move would “stink…plain and simple.”
I’m not buying that whatsoever. I know he isn’t either.
Maryland to the Big Ten rumors have been reheated in recent days, and it appears as though this time there’s the actual bite that has been missing during previous rounds of rumors. In fact, a detailed ESPN.com report said Saturday school President Wallace Loh and Athletic Director Kevin Anderson were directly involved in negotiations.
The single biggest reason why a move like this WOULDN’T happen would be the $50 million exit fee the ACC is charging for a member institution to leave, but there’s monetary incentive for the B1G to be willing to help there.
Should the B1G be able to lure Maryland (and Rutgers as reports have indicated the league would also like to add), they would immediately open up three top 30 markets for likely pickup of the Big Ten Network (New York, Washington and Baltimore). Adding these three markets would prove quite lucrative for a league who created the first ever 24-7 sports television network.
That fact has been deemed understandable by most fans, but what some have struggled to understand is why Maryland would want to give up money-making basketball games against the likes of Duke and North Carolina.
Perhaps Saturday’s football game should teach you a lesson.
To understand why the move would make sense for Maryland, you must first be willing to accept a simple fact. No matter how important basketball is to your program, football is the money maker at (damn near) every major Division 1 university.
Let that sink in.
Maryland needs football revenue. It’s why they’re rotating through many different Under Armour uniforms right now. They’re hoping that with actual healthy players in the near future, they might be able to win games under Randy Edsall. If they do, that will go a long way to helping the program make money. In the meantime, their most lucrative opponents at Byrd Stadium include the likes of Virginia Tech and Florida State.
And thanks to this picture posted by InsideMDSports.com Saturday, here’s what we’ve learned about the lucrative nature of a game against Florida State…
There is no guarantee that a late season game against an Ohio State or Penn State or Michigan or Wisconsin would be significantly better attended than Saturday’s game given the dreadful state of the Maryland program after losing FOUR quarterbacks. But if THIS is as good as the ACC has to offer in football, what really is there to lose by making the jump?
There absolutely WOULD be something lost in basketball with a move to the B1G. Games against Duke and North Carolina have been perhaps the most significant athletic events the school has hosted in the last decade. That said, the conference has been a watered down mess outside the two power programs, and replacing Duke and Carolina with games against Michigan State and Indiana annually (or biannually) doesn’t sound like a terrible consolation prize. Games against Ohio State Wisconsin could serve as replacements for what would have been gained from the pending additions of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC.
But Maryland’s reason for interest in jumping ship to the Big Ten is still much more tied to football, and namely the Big Ten Network.
The thought process is quite simple. Every Big Ten football game played every year is on television.
I want you to think about that.
Every single game is on television…not ESPN3.com.
That value cannot be dismissed in making a determination for the University of Maryland. Even the early season games against the likes of James Madison or Florida International would actually air on TV in (presumably) almost every home in the area and in other Big Ten markets, which would now include the crucial recruiting areas of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Every single game would also be available for viewing parties of alumni groups in bars and restaurants in those same markets.
Does that make sense?
On top of that, every program aired 24 hours a day, seven days a week on BTN serves as very affordable advertising for the athletic department and university as a whole.
If Maryland makes the move to the B1G, it will ABSOLUTELY be all about money.
It will NOT however “stink”.
Everyone knows (including Drew) that the only thing that actually matters in college athletics is money.
That’s “plain and simple.”