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
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
, 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
, 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
. 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.