Saturday, March 16, 2013
Report: B1G to subsidize Maryland's travel
By Adam Rittenberg
It's no secret that money motivated Maryland's decision to join the Big Ten.
University president Wallace Loh made that explicitly clear the day the school announced its move from the ACC. Last June, Maryland cut seven varsity sports because of the athletic department's financial woes.
The Big Ten move ensured Maryland would reap much greater revenues down the line. But the school also needed financial assurances up front, and the Big Ten was willing to provide them.
The Baltimore Sun reported Friday night that Maryland will receive a major subsidy from the Big Ten to cover its increased travel costs for its new league. Like, very major -- $20-$30 million.
From the report:
The subsidy underscores how much the Big Ten coveted Maryland and the accompanying Baltimore-Washington television market. Maryland had some leverage in the talks because -- unlike some schools exploring jumping conferences -- it was not coming from a league, the ACC, that appears in imminent danger of collapse. It was not clear when the subsidy is to be received and whether it will be a lump sum or series of payments.
The Sun also reports that Maryland's travel budget will double from about $3 million in 2012-13 to about $6 million when it joins the Big Ten in 2014.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany declined to comment about the report when reached by ESPN.com on Saturday. Financial terms of Maryland's agreement to move to the Big Ten were not disclosed.
The Big Ten's other future member, Rutgers, will not receive the same subsidies.
"I don't think it's so much about subsidies," Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti told The Sun. "We were comfortable from the beginning that the revenues are going to equitably address the travel situation. With certain sports like football, we charter-traveled to every game, so football will really look the same. Basketball, there will be some more [travel], but nonconference scheduling will balance that out."
According to league sources, Maryland's football team will be in a division with Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers, Michigan State and Purdue or Indiana. But the Terrapins still will be making lengthy trips to places like Lincoln, Neb., and Minneapolis.
The hefty subsidy shows just how much the Big Ten wanted Maryland as a new member. The reported total -- in the tens of millions of dollars -- certainly jumps out. Although Maryland still might have to pay a $52 million exit fee to leave the ACC, its new league is doing all it can to address the school's financial problems.
Nebraska fans might be wondering, what about us? The same goes for existing Big Ten members who will be making longer trips to Maryland.
But those schools don't have the same financial problems. The fact Rutgers isn't receiving the same subsidies shows this was more of an issue with Maryland after the recent cuts.