Maryland's "Pride" Uniform is just one of many combinations for the Terps.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - November 19th will go down as a day of change in Maryland Terrapins History, from ACC to Big 10, wow!
I spent the days leading up to the worst kept secret in town speaking to various Maryland alumni who lamented the termination of this 59 year marriage, which included countless memories: 10-win football team in 2003, ACC Hoops tournament run in 2004, just to name a few.
Jim Santa class of '74 (football) said,"I feel hoodwinked, I feel really bad for Maryland basketball fans being they would live for the ACC Tournament every March and now that's gone." A day of sadness for some, but I call it a day of reality.
The landscape of college athletics has been changing for years. The Big 12, Big 10, SEC, Big East, Pac 10, Mountain West, Conference USA, and WAC are just a few examples of conferences electing to realign since 2010. A head-spinning alteration of the collegiate map producing odd dancing partners. For example, Houston, SMU and Boise State will all participate in the Big East in 2013. What's east about those schools?
But this is what it is now. Television revenue and bowl alliances which are connected to conference strength have created a dog-eat-dog mentality amongst conference commissioners. The Big 10 (now 14) made the deal with Maryland and Rutgers with television market footprints on its mind. Maryland's mascot might be a turtle but to the Big 10 the school may as well be called "the conduits." In other words, a conduit to get their brand to the Washington, D.C. area.
Maryland President Dr. Wallace Loh was blunt in his explanation during the announcement of the decision. "This move ensures the financial stability of the athletic department for years to come," he said. Big 10 member schools received about $24 million dollars in shared revenues this fiscal year, according to the St. Louis-Post Dispatch. For Maryland, that was music to a cash-strapped athletic department's ears.
So what are ACC diehards left to do? Simple, get over it and move on! 59 years in the ACC are not just being thrown in the garbage. President Loh and Athletic Director Kevin Anderson are simply attempting to craft a new chapter, one that might actually resurrect a few of the seven sports the school recently had to drop. I applaud their efforts.
This move was destined to upset a lot of alumni, fans and current students. As someone who did not grow up in this area I can, without bias, say Maryland-Duke and Maryland-North Carolina are two of the best rivalries in college hoops. This being Thanksgiving week, I remember growing up eagerly anticipating Nebraska-Oklahoma football this time of year. Anyone 40 years old or older probably will agree with me when I say it was always one of the best. That chapter is closed now. The Cornhuskers have Big 10 opponents to worry about, while Oklahoma is still in the Big 12 FOR NOW, which I remember as the Big 8 by the way! The memories are unlimited, unbounded, and everlasting but Both "Big Reds" to a degree have gotten over it!
ACC diehards, Dr. Loh and Kevin Anderson were careful and articulate in their explanations. They delivered the news compassionately without tearing your heart out. But you also need to know they were saying certain things to you without actually saying them. First, old rivalries are important and they will try to maintain them as best they can but the future sustainability of the entire athletic department trumps all that. Second, don't scoff at what you can't see yet. Who knows what future great rivalries/memories await in this newly formed conference.
And lastly, don't allow an artificial romance with something as fleeting as a Saturday afternoon Maryland-Wake Forest football game in front of 40,017 fans blind you. The game is changing! There's a bigger picture out there and if you don't acknowledge that you risk being left homeless (athletically speaking that is).
Dr. Loh and Kevin Anderson have taken their share of blame from me in the past; now let me applaud them for a courageous and possibly forward-thinking move. Good luck!
By Dave Owens, 9 Sports