Monday, November 19, 2012
Maryland officials: money led to B1G move
By Adam Rittenberg
Maryland's top officials along with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany concluded a news conference today in College Park, Md., confirming the school's move to the Big Ten.
The Terrapins will officially become a Big Ten member on July 1, 2014, and begin competing in athletics in the 2014-15 season.
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh speaks at a news conference to announce Maryland's decision to move to the Big Ten.
Maryland president Wallace Loh made it very clear from the start of the announcement that the financial gains the Big Ten offered were the primary reason why the school left the ACC, where it had been a founding member. In June, Maryland eliminated seven varsity sports because of financial woes.
Loh and athletic director Kevin Anderson repeatedly stated that they never want to make such cutbacks again, and the move to the Big Ten ensures financial stability "for decades to come." In perhaps the best news of the announcement, Loh said Maryland immediately will start the process of reinstating those teams. Loh and Anderson obviously felt they would have had to cut more teams if Maryland stayed in the ACC.
SI.com reports that Maryland expects to make $100 million more in conference revenue from 2014 to 2020 as a Big Ten member, according to information Delany presented to the school. As SI.com's Pete Thamel notes, the big jump comes after the Big Ten negotiates its new television contract.
Some other notes and thoughts:
Although Loh and others repeatedly pointed to the Big Ten's financial advantages, they danced around questions of how Maryland would pay a $50 million exit fee from the ACC. Clearly, folks like Maryland super booster Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, will help in this area, as well as a projected Big Ten revenue windfall, but it'll be interesting to see how Maryland addresses its immediate debts as it looks for future gains.
Delany revealed the Big Ten will open an East Coast office in addition to its main headquarters, currently in Park Ridge, Ill., but soon moving to nearby Rosemont, Ill. With Maryland in the league and Rutgers soon to follow, the Big Ten will have a larger East Coast presence. Delany said the Big Ten isn't a national conference, but it now has a presence in two distinct areas of the country (Midwest, East Coast).
Anderson said he has discussed the Big Ten move with football coach Randy Edsall and that Maryland "will take on the Big Ten and be very competitive." Better question: Will Edsall be around to coach the Terrapins in their first Big Ten game?
Delany noted that when the Big Ten announced its last expansion push in December 2009, it triggered an unexpected wave of bad reports and tension on a number of campuses. The league didn't expect such a response and took a much quieter approach this time around. The talks with Maryland really heated up in the past 2-3 weeks.
Delany said there were no direct conversations with Maryland during the Big Ten's last expansion push, but the league looked at models that included the school.
Loh acknowledged the disappointment many Maryland fans have about leaving the ACC, but he also noted that the ACC is changing with new membership and that some of Maryland's long-term rivalries would be changing, too. He also waited until noon ET today to inform ACC commissioner John Swofford of the school's departure from the league. Ouch. Almost as cold as Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman ripping Texas when Nebraska joined the Big Ten. Good times.