As a graduate of The Ohio State University, I would like to extend a warm Buckeye welcome to the Big Ten's newest member, the University of Maryland ("UM to leave ACC for Big Ten in '14," Nov. 20). The move is great for both the Big Ten and Maryland.
I could complain, like many of my Big Ten brethren, that by adding Maryland, we are not gaining anything substantial in football. I could gripe that OSU will be losing out on games against traditional foes like Iowa, Michigan State, and Illinois in order to play the Terps, but I won't. As Jim Delaney, commissioner of the Big Ten said: "It is time to embrace the Turtle."
The Big Ten gains access to new markets and increased revenue, while Maryland gains financial stability, elevated football competition, and improved recruiting grounds. Hopefully with increased revenue, Maryland can restore the recently cut athletic programs and can fill Byrd Stadium to capacity. Also, the Big Ten has always prided itself on academics, with 11 out of 12 universities belonging to the Association of American Universities, and the addition of Maryland will help improve the collective cooperation in research and development. I look forward to Maryland's flashy uniforms, up-tempo basketball, and passionate fan base becoming a part of the conference I have come to love.
In response to Kevin Cowherd's article that all this change flies in the face of tradition, I would ask: What tradition is it that matters so much? The tradition of getting waxed by Florida State in Football, or constantly traveling to North Carolina for championship tournaments in the Carolina Centric Conference (AKA the ACC)? I hear Terrapin fans whining about the loss of Duke and UNC in basketball, but how big of a loss is it? Maryland has always been the little brother to the UNC/Duke rivalry, much like Michigan State to Ohio State/Michigan or Florida State to Florida/Georgia in football.
The basketball rivalry has been diminished to the point where the Terps play Duke and UNC once a year, twice if they are lucky. If it means so much to Terrapin fans, here is a simple solution: Schedule these teams in non-conference play. If UNC and Duke decline, then you will know exactly where the Terps stand with those basketball powers.
I can understand the concerns about the lacrosse program going into decline as the Big Ten is not a lacrosse stronghold, but again, I would argue that Maryland can schedule the top quality teams it needs to remain competitive.
I strongly urge Terrapin alumni and fans everywhere to positively embrace the Big Ten for what it has to offer. If you are worried about rivalries, you need look no farther than Penn State for football. Penn State has notoriously out-recruited Maryland for decades in the Baltimore/Washington metro area. Perhaps Maryland can renew a rivalry with the Nittany Lions who have partially contributed to Maryland football irrelevance. I would also argue that a rivalry with Rutgers could blossom given the number of students who attend Maryland from New Jersey and New York that have family and friends who attend Rutgers.
I know Byrd Stadium will be rocking once Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State come to town for football games. If you can't fill the stadium, I guarantee our fans will descend on College Park like locusts and fill it for you. In fact, Maryland should consider playing games at M&T Bank or FedEx fields when these football giants come to town.
In regard to basketball, I guarantee fans will pack the Comcast Center when Michigan State, Indiana and Wisconsin come to town. If you are still missing the ACC, there is always the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten has great fans and great traditions, and we look forward to all that Maryland has to offer. Again, Welcome to the Big Ten Conference!
Matthew Briggs, Baltimore