It finally happened. The University of Maryland, a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, has abandoned their affiliation with that conference and joined the Big Ten. This move has been rumored for years and will become official in 2014. The Big Ten will have 14 teams with Rutgers joining as well.
Why is this a good move?
For starters, the Terrapins will finally be able to grow their football program by playing historical schools besides Florida State. If I’m a recruit and I get to play against Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, I’m ecstatic. Also, in recruiting battles of rival schools, Maryland may not lose as many kids to Penn State.
Fans from visiting teams will pack Byrd Stadium and sell some seats in Tyser Tower. Possibly even have sellouts at Byrd. Football is where the money is with college sports. Sure Maryland is a basketball school, but the big money is from football.
Maryland now doesn’t have to put up with traveling to Greensboro, N.C., for the ACC Tournament three out of every four years, which gave an inherent advantage to the four North Carolina schools. The ACC’s refusal to move this tournament around more often with two-thirds of the schools not based in North Carolina may have been a part in this decision by the school regents and school president Wallace Loh.
Of course the biggest factor is money.
As Maryland makes the move to its new conference, the Big Ten Network will provide Maryland with millions of dollars that will stabilize the budget and athletics programs. With an influx of new cash, Maryland won’t have to cut anymore sports from the school’s budget. Of course money doesn’t buy rivalries.
A point on the rivalries is Maryland was likely only going to be playing Duke, North Carolina and Virginia once a season anyway with Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame joining the conference so there wasn’t going to be anymore rivalry. Maryland’s new rival was going to be Pittsburgh. That’s absurd.
The Big Ten is a perfect for Maryland and Maryland is a perfect fit for the Big Ten. Maryland’s size and focus on academics is a shoe-in with Big Ten schools other than Northwestern.
This is a bold, but great move by the university and it will be a profitable one.