So, Maryland will quit the ACC and Rutgers will likewise quit the Big East and both will join the Big Ten sooner or later and for better or worse.
Whether these teams make an impact on actual TV ratings is secondary to the question of whether the perceived value of these media markets (N.J. & Baltimore) can deliver a lucrative payday during the Big Ten's upcoming first tier media rights sale.
The Big Ten's move comes curiously close after Notre Dame signed their athletics contract with the ACC moving basketball to the ACC - at least for now - and playing 5 ACC football teams annually.
Was this move made as some kind of "Fuck You" to Notre Dame?.. Poaching the Terps from the ACC and taking Rutgers to even the Big Ten out at 14 teams? Well it wasn't that big of a fuck you at all. The Big Ten will almost certainly help these two teams whose athletic departments have become nearly insolvent. As it sits today, Rutgers brings a little more than Maryland, but neither school offers a next-level basketball program. Right now it looks to me to be two more mouths to feed. It is no exaggeration to say that Rutgers built its football renaissance on scheduling light and beating up on the weak Big East teams. Am I surprised that RU is playing for the Big East title? Now that WVU is off their schedule I'm not surprised in the least. Rutgers and Maryland are joining at a good time since Penn State's scholarship sanctions mean more MD and NJ kids could look to stay in state, but there will be significant growing pains for football and basketball as well as for each school's olympic sports.
Maryland's athletic program has seen better days and now that the Terps future is looking brighter some news outlets are taking the time to expose the problems that Maryland athletics have gotten themselves into.
Former Army AD Kevin Anderson played a role in the story...
Four months after the firing, Anderson needed a $1.2 million loan from other non-state auxiliary funds because the department could not balance its budget. One key shortfall came because a major gift did not materialize. Once Anderson saw the new data, he realized the department was running a deficit."That was the red light that went off," said Anderson.Documents reveal that the red light may have already been on. The Maryland Athletic Council, the primary advisory body on university intercollegiate athletics, acknowledged an ominous budget outlook as early as August 2010 under interim AD Randy Eaton (Eaton declined to speak to SI.com). The Athletic Council stated that money from the new ACC television contract, due to earn the school $3.9 million more than the old one, would ease any financial burden.In July 2011, Loh set up a commission to take a hard look at the athletic department. A year later, seven sports (men's and women's swimming, women's water polo, men's cross-country, men's indoor track and field, men's tennis and aerobics and tumbling) were cut.That move drew the ire of many, especially after it was revealed in January that the school was financing a $7.2 million reconstruction of Loh's presidential mansion. Controversy also surrounded which teams were targeted for elimination, as those choices ran contrary to the commission's stated criteria of academic excellence. Of the seven sports Maryland cut, six had far better Academic Progress Rates scores than the baseball team, which survived despite having the lowest APR of any team in the ACC.
Do I care about the decay of Maryland athletics? Not any more. The ACC picked up Louisville which is a step down academically from almost any school in the ACC, but hey, I'm not forced to listen to UL history lectures. Louisville brings a decent TV market and just as importantly: a balanced athletic budget.
I have a tough time hyping myself up for frequent tallest-midmajor-midget Louisville, but there is no arguing their profitability as a brand.
Another acceptable answer for the ACC would have been replacing Maryland/DC with Navy. Army isn't ready to jump yet, but Navy wants a seat at the big-boys table, and the ACC would have been a solid but tough league for Navy football. It would be an even trade in regard to the revenue sports.
Tulane now goes to the Big East, which is looking an awful lot less 'East' these days. Do I care? The answer is no. I will continue to enjoy Big East football and I will feel comfortable rooting for USF against any of those other derelict teams.
More than that these moves have given me two more reasons to skip past the Big Ten Network.
At some point I will update the BIG East board with more websites of the actual participants, but for now I'm going to relax and enjoy the last few weeks of the season.