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Maryland has mishandled ACC decision

Maryland was a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and most recently, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville have joined. It's interesting that so many schools want to join the ACC, yet Maryland is leaving 60 years of affiliation with the best conference in intercollegiate athletics ("AD optimistic about team, Big Ten move," Dec. 1). We will miss some of the greatest rivalries in college basketball with Duke and North Carolina, the competitiveness of ACC lacrosse and the camaraderie with the other outstanding ACC schools.

Maryland is a public institution and as such should have solicited the input of its students, faculty members, alumni and former athletes. Most of us only heard of this development a few days before the Board of Regents met in Baltimore in a cloak of secrecy. This is a clear case of financial mismanagement, as Maryland built suites for football absent the type of program that justified the suites and without obtaining prior commitments for those suites. We dropped seven sports, yet neither Duke nor Wake Forest, much smaller schools that draw far fewer fans for football than Maryland, have dropped any minor sports in the last few years.

Mark Turgeon, an excellent hire, came to Maryland to coach in the ACC. The players we recruited came to Maryland to play in the ACC. A number of them from Maryland and surrounding states came to College Park so that their families could see them play here and could easily travel to away games against Virginia and the four North Carolina teams. Maryland fans do not travel well, and our attendance at away games will be much worse for games at such places as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan.

This whole situation reminds me of the way Ralph Friedgen's firing was handled. He was fired during the year in which he was named ACC coach of the year and won a bowl game convincingly.

Deane A. Shure, Rockville

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