The Maryland Terrapins departed my beloved Atlantic Coast Conference – where it was a founding member no less – for the Big Ten (along with Rutgers from the American Athletic Conference). Meanwhile the ACC replaced Maryland with the Louisville Cardinals from the AAC.
While I am hoping the seismic plates of realignment calms down for good, I must say that BOTH conferences made out like bandits. One conference made an athletic gain while the other a potentially huge financial gain.
Follow me for a minute.
The ACC has long played in the shadows of the Southeastern Conference. While the ACC has made some huge gains in football the last two seasons, the SEC is still king and is perceived to be the big brother in an otherwise amicable relationship. With the SEC gaining its own network, the folks in the ACC realized that the conference needs to be taken more seriously and make bigger gains in football.
While Louisville would never be confused with other academically prestigious universities, it has one helluva athletics department. The strides it has made in college football and college basketball (as well as baseball and soccer) is nothing short of amazing. Hell Louisville comes into the ACC with the biggest athletics budgets in the conference (now over $87 million). What Louisville will do for the ACC in football in basketball is make the conference stronger in football and perhaps the best in college basketball.
And with the possibility of an ACC channel looming, that could not come at a better time.
As for the B1G, the acquisition of Maryland (and Rutgers) was solely about money. The Big Ten Network is a cash cow that was the brainchild of commissioner Jim Delany. It is making tens of millions of dollars for each school in the B1G. And with Maryland (and Rutgers) coming on board, the B1G could extend its network coverage into the Washington, DC (and New York City) markets.
And give Maryland credit for this: at least it was honest about its reasons for joining the conference (all about the $$$). Maryland’s athletic department was broke, and the B1G can give it the financial lifeline that the Terrapins sorely need.
Let me add something here: as a sports traditionalist, losing Maryland hurts like hell. I grew up watching those Maryland-Duke and Maryland-UNC battles in basketball. It’s just going to be so weird seeing Maryland as a member of the Big Ten.
“No country for old men” I guess…