Sunday, November 18, 2012

Big Ten?  Big Mistake!

Last night, as the BCs were still reeling over the loss to St. Joe's, we were plunged even further into depression by the news that Maryland was in serious talks to join the Big Ten Conference, an announcement that could come as early as tomorrow.  WHAT THE??

As our readers know, neither of the BCs attended the University of Maryland.  But as fans, not alumnae, even we have come to feel the intensity of athletic rivalries within the ACC. It's those traditional rivalries that are critical to alums and fans like us . . . those rivalries are a huge part of what makes us care about Maryland's athletic programs.  We've been living and breathing ACC women's basketball for years, and can't imagine the Terps suddenly being uprooted to what is essentially a midwestern conference. (In fact, for years, the BCs have had a shorthand for the Big Ten. Until now, due to its obvious political-incorrectness, we've kept it to ourselves . . . we call it the "Corn-Fed White Girls Conference." It's a conference that simply doesn't have the same diversity we love about the ACC.)

We can only imagine how fans of Maryland athletics who actually went to Maryland must feel about this prospect. Right now, the ACC fields the deepest women's basketball line-up in the country.  With the addition of Notre Dame and Syracuse, the ACC will be THE conference for women's basketball, hands down.  The predominately mid-Atlantic ACC is also THE conference for lacrosse and for field hockey, not to mention a powerhouse in soccer.  What will happen to these programs if Maryland attaches itself to a bunch of midwestern schools?   

Shortly after this news broke yesterday, the Washington Post article about the possible move had already generated hundreds of comments on the paper's web site, most from people totally opposed to the move, many of them Maryland alums who stated how upset they were. We talked to one die-hard Terps alum this morning; the word she used was "horrible." 

We think it's horrible, too.  We're not midwesterners, and, no offense to the Big Ten schools, but watching the Terps face off in basketball against the likes of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa just doesn't do it for us. Coach B left one of those Big Ten schools (Minnesota) in order to move to Maryland and the ACC. At the time, there was no question that in the world of women's basketball, the ACC was a step up from coaching at a Big Ten school.  If anything, that's even more true now. We know that if this "horrible" move happens, Coach B will find a way to adjust, but will we, the fans, be as successful at accepting this change?  Frankly, we doubt it.

Just think about the "Red Sea" that flows down to Greensboro every March for the ACC Tournament.  Does anyone think this many fans would be interested in traveling to -- or could afford to travel to -- some midwestern site for the Big Ten Tournament?  (In 2013, the Tournament will be held in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a northwestern suburb of Chicago.)  Just think about those Rebounder bus trips to Duke or UNC or UVA. Gone. Just think about those fans who fly to Florida to see the Terps play Miami or Florida State.  Will they fly to Lincoln, Nebraska, in the winter for a mini-vac? Not likely. And, let's not forget in all this football-centric decision-making that the student-athletes in sports that play more than 20 games a year, in the winter, will need to travel further and longer . . . . taking them away from their classrooms and study sessions, which can't possibly be a good thing for these young women and young men academically.

Why, you might ask, are Maryland's President and Athletic Director reportedly in favor of this move?  That's easy -- money.  The Big Ten makes a ton of it from the Big Ten Network, and the member schools get to share in that.  Apparently, the Big Ten thinks that expansion into the Maryland media market (and that of Rutgers, also planning to join the Conference) will bring in even more money.  In fact, there's so much money floating around that the talks of Maryland's leaving the ACC have proceeded despite the fact that the ACC schools -- over Maryland's objection -- earlier this year voted to impose a $50 MILLION exit "fee" on schools leaving the Conference.  Yes, you read that correctly, 50 million dollars.  Obviously, Maryland, which has had to eliminate a number of  athletic programs in recent years (not to mention put University staff on furloughs) doesn't have that kind of loose change lying around.  We've read that Maryland might challenge the "fee" in court and/or that the Big Ten would pay all or part of Maryland's ACC "exit" fee.  That still doesn't change how we feel about the move.

The BCs weren't happy after yesterday's loss to St. Joe's.  But that was only one game.  Bad games happen to good teams.  We've seen Coach B's teams regroup after bad losses before.  But if the move to the Big Ten happens, and it turns out badly, it can't be undone.  This brings our unhappiness to a whole new level.  Maryland is a charter member of the ACC, helping found the Conference in 1953.  That's an awful lot of athletic tradition to throw away.

Dear President Loh: Don't do it!
Dear AD Anderson: Don't do it!
Dear Maryland Board of Regents: Don't do it!

Sincerely, the DC BasketCases.


At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gratuitous knock on the racial make-up of Big 10 teams aside, I agree. Leaving the ACC would set back recruiting, eliminate great rivalries, and threaten the long-term viability of the program. It's not a given that Brenda would even stay to finish out her contract, if a better (i.e., an ACC offer) came along.

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can email President Loh to tell him what you think about moving to the Big Ten at:

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to contact the MD Board of Regents? They are the last hope. I don't understand why the Loh administration sprung this on alumni and current student athletes without any debate or discussion. It seems unfair.

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! The Big Ten?????!!!! A naked play for money. Maryland and other schools who make moves like this should just admit they are farm systems for pro leagues and pay the "student athletes" as employees. And not make students pay fees to support professional sports that happen to be housed on a campus. The majority of college football programs cost far more than they bring in. If football is losing money, cut it down or cut it out.

I feel so badly for all the other sports at Maryland that are subservient to football; these sports whose traditions and rivalries will be sacrificed in this money grab. Disgusting.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger dcsportsfan said...

College sports is all about money. And football is where most of that money comes from.

I don't want to see the Terrapins head to the Big Ten as much as anyone, but considering that the Terps stand to gain financially over the long term over the ACC, which is a weak major football conference and therefore unable to gain the same amount of dollars like the SEC or Big Ten, I'm not surprised that it happens. So much for thinking that the ACC was impenetrable in conference realignment because it was the ACC that started this recent wave too with the additions of Virginia Tech, BC, and Miami.

Every other sport not named football is hostage to conference realignment unfortunately....

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Jill said...


As a Purdue alum and now DC area resident, I agree with you that the realignment of conferences is horrible. I grew up in Missouri and couldn't believe that Mizzou was joining the SEC. It still weirds me out. I wasn't happy to see the Big 10 become 12 with the addition of the geographically distant Nebraska. Maryland and Rutgers joining the Big ten dilutes our rivalries too. It is horrible. However, your racial characterization of our teams is more horrible. I've read your blog constantly since I moved to this area, but that comment does a disservice to many quality women and makes me rethink my interest in your blog.


At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand people taking offense to the "corn-fed..." comment but I have to say I thought it was pretty funny. I grew up in Philly and when I first arrived on campus at Penn State I couldn't believe how white it was.

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two basic rules of life: 1. Change is Inevitable 2. Everyone Resists Change. Remember this: When you are through changing…you’re through. -Unknown

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the Corn-fed comment was funny also. Not even close to mean comments such as what Imus said about the Rutgers Women. Anyway, I have mixed feelings about this change. I beleive conferences need to be regional so student/athletes can study and be students instead of travelling. On the flip side, ACC is in reality the North Carolina conference. ACC tournament is allways in NC. A fair conference would move it around, not ACC, all the NC schools vote together to get their way and keep the tournaments in NC.

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is even worse is that the money motivation behind this is incredibly short-sighted. The supposed value of the Big Ten Network(does anyone watch this?) is speculative going forward. Change is inevitable is a rule of life-the way cable will be packaged will change, and the Big 10 "brand" is vastly overrated.

Reminds me of Maryland's law school selling it's name for a relative pittance last year.

At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing speculative about the value of being able to watch every game on tv- unless of course you enjoy Gametracker.


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