Maryland Basketball: Why Move to Big Ten Would Be a Disaster
The University of Maryland was one of the founding members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. It is one of five universities (including Syracuse) in the conference to have won a national championship, and one of only two located outside of North Carolina.
Maryland boasts five Conference Player of the Year winners in Albert King, Len Bias, Joe Smith, Juan Dixon and Greivis Vasquez. Maryland coaches Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams have each won two conference coach of the trophies.
All of this glorious Maryland tradition, and plenty more, is on the verge of being devastatingly halted due to conference realignment, as Maryland and the Big Ten Conference are in serious negotiations about the Terrapins joining the Big Ten.
Just like every other recent conference switch-up, the move is solely focused around two things: football and money.
Plain and simple, Maryland does not fit in with the landscape of the Big Ten.
First and foremost, Maryland is traditionally a basketball school. The ACC is a basketball conference. Those two reasons are why the school and the conference have been a perfect match for decades.
The Big Ten is most certainly a dominant basketball conference this season, and certainly a weak football conference this season as well. But traditionally, the conference has the reputation of being the exact opposite.
And that can be attributed to the schools themselves.
How many true basketball schools are in the Big Ten?
I'm willing to comfortably place just Indiana, Michigan State and Illinois in the category.
How many true basketball schools are in the ACC?
Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest can all be considered basketball schools.
Sure, Ohio State and Penn State coming to College Park generates a much larger amount of revenue than Boston College or Wake Forest would.
But what about the tradition? The fans? The riots after Duke games? (OK, those won't be missed too much.)
Will this move actually materialize? I believe so.
There must be a reason why Maryland was one of the only ACC schools to vote against the proposed $50 million dollar buyout earlier this year. The athletic department was likely anticipating this move, and of course, didn't want to shell out 50 million dollars to leave the conference later this year.
And then there's the idea that Under Armour CEO/Maryland's biggest booster Kevin Plank cashed out five percent of his enormous amount of stock in Under Armour earlier this week. That percentage translates to 65 million.
Plank is known for investing huge amounts of money in his beloved alma mater. Just use Maryland's unique football jerseys as an example.
Should Maryland move to the Big Ten?
But could Plank possibly be preparing to chip in to Maryland's buyout expense?
Who knows? Maryland facing superior Big Ten football teams could be advantageous for Under Armour, but not exponentially.
Whether this move actually happens or not, the higher-ups at Maryland need to get their priorities straight.
As a lifelong fan, I'm not ready to lose the annual Duke game. I'm not ready to say goodbye to three ACC championships. I'm not willing to discontinue the ACC's third-highest winning percentage in history.
Sure, football and money make the world go round, but the ACC is where Maryland basketball belongs.
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