Maryland is in serious negotiations to join the Big 10. Wait a second, I can’t believe I just put that to paper. One of the ACC’s charter members wants to leave one of the most stable conferences in the country to become the Big 10’s punching bag. Are you kidding me?
Terrapin fans can’t be in favor of this, can they? I mean this entire premise is ludicrous for a great many reasons. If Maryland leaves the ACC, then they leave rivalries behind as well as a very talented recruiting base in states that are owned by the ACC. I would have understood this move ten years ago, because at that time Maryland was an outlier, geographically speaking. They were the northern most team in the conference, but since that time schools from Massachusetts, New York and even Indiana have joined the ACC. Maryland is now smack dab in the middle of the ACC map, and yet they want to become an outlier in the Big 10.
Now let’s get to the financial portion of this idiocy. If Maryland does indeed decide to leave the ACC for the Big 10, then it will cost the Terrapins $50 million dollars (imagine ACC commissioner John Swofford in his best Dr. Evil pose here). Recently, the University of Maryland has made some rather large budget cuts, including cutting certain sports altogether, but they have an extra $50 million just lying around. They don’t, or else they need to restart all those cut programs this instant.
I seriously doubt that Maryland has that money in the athletic department. The university president, Wallace Loh, has been the one in talks with the Big 10. This leaves a scary proposition, as the taxpayers of the great state of Maryland could be the ones to foot the bill. The University of Maryland is a public institution and thus publicly funded, but asking taxpayers to pay $50 million dollars for an unneeded conference change would draw understandable outrage.
If the Terrapins do leave the ACC and pay the exit fee ,then every single cent of that better come from the University and the athletic department. If a single penny comes from taxpayer dollars, then every resident of Maryland should march on the College Park campus and carry Loh out of the state to a neighboring state (just not Virginia, we don’t need him where I live).
Conference realignment is out of control and this move by Maryland makes absolutely no sense. The ACC is now the best basketball conference in the land, and a better football conference then the Big 10 (at least this year). If Maryland leaves don’t expect any other members of the ACC to follow suit. Maybe the Terrapins are just wealthier than the other 14 current and future members of the conference.