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Maryland's Big Ten decision: Money over tradition

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: December 12, 2012 - 9:06 AM

"On the third Saturday in November, more than 100 of the University of Maryland’s most generous donors and ardent supporters were invited to the president’s newly constructed, multimillion-dollar home. The breakfast tailgate party preceded that afternoon’s game against nationally ranked Florida State. But as the guests nibbled on finger foods and wandered through the new home, the school’s top leaders — mainstays at such an event — were nowhere in sight."

So begins the Washington Post's in-depth story that pieced together how Maryland's decision to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten came to be.

It should be no surprise that the main motivator is money. Projections made by the Big Ten show that Maryland will bring in more per year than it could have by staying in the ACC, which it helped found back in the 1950s, when conferences were regional entities.

Maryland's president, Wallace Loh, was the provost at Iowa before taking the job at Maryland. Earlier this year, facing a deficit in the athletic department. Loh had made the decision to cut seven varsity sports.

Loh told the Post: “It’s money versus tradition. Everybody knows there would be an outcry and we would have to deal with that. And, do we want to go through that outcry?”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said, “The tectonic plates underneath intercollegiate athletics are very warm, as evidenced by all the changes that have happened in the major conferences over the past decade.”

Keep in mind that the ACC fired one of the first shots in the conference realignment wars, voting in  three schools (Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College) from the Big East in 2003.

The story will take you most of a coffee break to read, but it's well worth your time if you want to understand the courses that were navigated by Maryland and the Big Ten to make its latest expansion take place.

One of the authors of the piece, by the way, is former Star Tribune sports intern Alex Prewitt, who now covers University of Maryland sports for the Post.

Read the entire story here.

 

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