Is Maryland really going to jump from the ACC to the Big Ten?
While it’s still not a done deal, a college athletics source told me early this morning “They’re just going over the fine print now…”, which would lead you to believe it’s on the verge of being announced.
At stake, of course, is money. That’s the only reason Maryland would be doing this sort of thing. It can’t be about any other reason. It’s most certainly not being done to help increase the interest in the Terps basketball program, which would take a major hit if they leave the ACC for the Big Ten. Maryland vs. Northwestern every year sure gets me excited, how about you? It’s fair to note that Big Ten football is far superior to ACC football, but what good does that do Randy Edsall and Company when they’re already a bottom-feeder in the ACC? Does the Big Ten really need another sacrificial lamb for Ohio State and Michigan and Penn State?
Some folks will point to Saturday’s woeful attendance of 32,000 in College Park to see Florida State hammer Maryland and use that as a measuring stick for how much of a draw even a good program like the Seminoles are…but the reality is the attendance in College Park is dwindling because the team isn’t any good. They can move to the Big Ten tomorrow, but if the Terps are 2-7 in football this time next year, they’ll draw 32,000 for the home game against Michigan State, too.
This is about money. Nothing more, nothing less. Maryland would get a chip or two from the Big Ten TV pie, for starters, and you would think a handful of football home games a year against the powers of the Big Ten would draw more paying customers than, say, annual visits from Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and North Carolina.
Maryland athletics, needless to say, is much more than just football and basketball from a competitive standpoint. But from the money viewpoint, those two sports are propping up all the others. While the soccer and lacrosse programs have both become national powers over the last few years, they’re still not paying for themselves. Golf, tennis, field hockey and all of the other non-revenue sports in College Park don’t generate enough cash to pay for the gas they use in the luxury coach to get them to Charlottesville, Virginia for an event. At Maryland, it’s basketball and football, with soccer and women’s basketball generating some money and men’s lacrosse chipping in as well. And that’s it.
So, on the basis of needing to make some financial sense out of sports at College Park, this move to the Big Ten is probably going to lend a helping hand to a department that has been scuffling for several years now.
And even though the Big Ten move might cure Maryland’s athletic economic woes, the switch won’t do anything cosmetically for Kevin Anderson and Company. They’re simply taking the money. Nothing more. The move doesn’t add any immediate interest to Maryland sports. The only reason Maryland hops to the Big Ten is because of the money they’ll make for doing so.
In general, the move stinks. No more Duke basketball games. No more Roy Williams. Rivalry games with Virginia are gone.
Maryland is an Atlantic/Eastern seaboard school with a long history of trips to Tobacco Road and memorable encounters with the Blue Devils and Tar Heels and Wolfpack and Deamon Deacons.
Maryland is not supposed to play Iowa or Michigan State or Minnesota.
But it looks like they’re going to be doing just that if this story comes to fruition, which many are now saying it will sometime in the next few weeks.
I don’t like it all, but I’m not surprised by it, either.
College sports is all about money.
If you have a lot of it, you’re the one doing most of the winning.
If you don’t have a lot of it, you’re trying to figure out how to get more of it so you can start winning again.
Maryland’s chasing the money.
That’s better than losing, I guess.