Big Ten: Debbie Yow

Rutgers is hiring Louisville's Julie Hermann as its next athletic director, colleague Brett McMurphy reports. The Star-Ledger first reported Hermann's hiring, and an official announcement is expected later Wednesday.

Hermann, who currently serves as Louisville's executive senior associate athletic director, will become the second female athletic director in Big Ten history, following Merrily Dean Baker, who was Michigan State's AD from 1992-95. Hermann beat out Wisconsin deputy AD Sean Frazier for the top job at Rutgers, where popular AD Tim Pernetti resigned last month in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal.

Hermann has spent the past 15 years in Louisville's athletic administration working under AD Tom Jurich. She currently oversees 20 sports, including women's basketball, as well as the marketing department, the sports medicine group and the strength and conditioning staff.

She has a Big Ten connection (sort of) as a volleyball player at Nebraska, where she helped the Huskers win four Big Eight championships. She was Tennessee's head volleyball coach in the 1990s, and spent one year as an assistant for USA Volleyball.

Hermann becomes one of just three female athletic directors at a BCS-level program (N.C. State's Debbie Yow and Cal's Sandy Barbour are the others).

More to come on Hermann's hiring later today and this week ...
The ACC presidents say they're sticking together. Stop laughing, guys. They're serious.

OK, I'm laughing, too. Can't help it.

Here's the statement the ACC presidents released today:
"We, the undersigned presidents of the Atlantic Coast Conference, wish to express our commitment to preserve and protect the future of our outstanding league. We want to be clear that the speculation about ACC schools in negotiations or considering alternatives to the ACC are totally false. The presidents of the ACC are united in our commitment to a strong and enduring conference. The ACC has long been a leader in intercollegiate athletics, both academically and athletically, and the constitution of our existing and future member schools will maintain the ACC's position as one of the nation's premier conferences."

Well, isn't that nice, the illusion of solidarity. I don't buy it, you don't buy it, and even the ACC presidents, if injected with truth serum, don't buy one word of this. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany wouldn't buy it, either, if he wasn't so busy counting his money.

It would be nice if the statement were true, but what we've seen in the past two and a half years invalidates every word. Remember when the Big East put out a similar statement in September 2011?

The realignment rage is far from over, and the chances of the ACC preventing another raid from a richer league like the Big Ten are slim to none.

Is the Big Ten expanding now? No. Were the rumors last week about talks with Georgia Tech substantiated? Not according to league officials I spoke to in Indianapolis. Is the Big Ten in a mad dash to become the first league to 16? No. In fact, the Big Ten has been reactive more than proactive.

But the Big Ten eventually will become a 16-team league, and odds are the additional schools will come from the ACC. If you want to speculate about the Big Ten's next expansion targets, look at big markets with good recruits and lots of Big Ten alumni.

Georgia Tech is a strong candidate because of its location, and schools like Virginia and maybe even North Carolina -- the white whale for the Big Ten, in my view -- could be in play. And while the ACC claims it's sticking together, there's simply too much money involved for individual members to say no.

NC State athletic director Debbie Yow, who previously held the same post at Maryland, this week expressed displeasure at Maryland's recent departure for the Big Ten.

"Maryland will be on a plane to play Wisconsin in the middle of the winter," Yow said. "Hope that money is really, really good."

Of all people, Yow should know why Maryland needs the Big Ten's money so badly. And yes, the money is really good and will only get better after the Big Ten finalizes its mammoth TV deal in a few years.

These types of statements insult fans' intelligence. What is that line about anything you say can and will be used against you? Brace yourselves, ACC.
The Big Ten expansion buzz has died down significantly since Nebraska came aboard, but a potentially key development took place during the weekend. Debbie Yow, the longtime athletic director at Maryland, left for the same post at N.C. State.

Maryland has long been mentioned as a fringe candidate for Big Ten expansion, and the buzz about the Terrapins increased in the days just before and just after the league added Nebraska. It's very possible that the Big Ten won't expand any further, as sources tell the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, but the league is only six months into an expansion study that could last until June 2011. The Big Ten is back on its own timetable now, and it could "act again," as commissioner Jim Delany said, late this fall or early this winter.

If you've read anything about Maryland and the Big Ten, you've probably seen quotes like this from Yow:

"I haven't heard anything from the Big Ten, and, to the best of my knowledge, Dr. [C.D. 'Dan'] Mote [the university president] has not either. The Big Ten is a terrific conference, but Maryland is a charter member in 1953 of the ACC and we are happy in the ACC. These are deep roots."

More from Yow:

"Why would we go anywhere? For money? I think we have less callous, bottom-line motivations than that."

Yow seemed pretty clear about her ACC allegiance, but she's no longer at Maryland. The school also soon will have a new president, who Mote said likely will select the next athletic director.

Hmmm, new president, new athletic director ... new outlook toward the Big Ten?

I put the question to colleague Heather Dinich, who knows way more about Maryland athletics than any of us. Heather has covered Maryland for both and The Baltimore Sun. She also knows the Big Ten well, as an Indiana alum who covered Penn State.

Here's what she had to say about how Yow's departure affects Maryland and the Big Ten:

Yow's departure opens the door for anything and everything at Maryland, not only because she is leaving, but because the university will also be bringing in a new president soon. Yow had said repeatedly that she had had no contact with the Big Ten, and that there was no interest in leaving the ACC. A new administration might feel differently. The question is whether or not Maryland would actually be a good fit for the Big Ten. Competitively? I say no. (And I'm sticking to college football when I say that.) For example, look at Maryland's record against Penn State: 1-35-1. It's no wonder they haven't played since 1993. Why pick the Nits as an example? Well, because it's the only Big Ten school Maryland has played with any regularity. Also because Penn State recruits the state of Maryland, and has made a habit out of beating the Terps for their top in-state talent, though Maryland has picked up its recruiting efforts recently under offensive coordinator James Franklin.

Overall, Maryland is 4-44-1 against the Big Ten, but hasn't played anyone other than Michigan State more than five times and hasn't faced Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa or Northwestern. Do Maryland fans really want to, though? A 2-10 record in the ACC won't translate well into a conference that just got bigger and better with the addition of Nebraska.

Man, 4-44-1. I didn't realize Maryland's Big Ten record was that brutal, although Penn State is the big reason why.

I look at Maryland a lot like Rutgers: a program with limited tradition in football that has the potential to help the Big Ten in several ways. Maryland gives the Big Ten an increased presence in a major metropolitan area, which should help grow the Big Ten Network. And like Rutgers, Maryland is located in a good area for high school recruiting, as teams like Penn State and Illinois already have found out. If the Big Ten chooses to expand again, it must make recruiting a bigger factor.

Does Maryland move the needle in football? Nope. But it gives the Big Ten a reason to be in the Washington D.C./Baltimore/Northern Virginia area.

In the end, that might be enough.