It’s pretty obvious that the decision by the Maryland Board of Regents to jump from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten will be a net plus financially after the school figures out how it is going to buy its way out of the ACC, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best thing for the school and its student body.
That will depend on how that extra revenue is spent and whether the novelty of playing all those big midwestern teams at Byrd Stadium really translates into a much more successful football program. To take full advantage of that, Maryland is going to have to consider expanding the on-campus stadium, or hope the Terps become enough of a national power to warrant playing some big games at one of the two NFL stadiums within short driving distance of the campus.
Personally, I’ve been against the nationwide conference realignment for several reasons, most of them unimportant considerations like history, tradition and geographic continuity. Frankly, I think the NCAA already has screwed up college football enough with the ridiculous BCS title format and its arbitrary disciplinary system, and now the individual conferences and schools are simply fighting for the biggest possible share of the billions in media revenues.
I’ll jump on board the Maryland move as soon as the athletic department announces that it will restore the seven sports that were recently targeted for elimination for budget reasons.
Of course, the next shoe to drop will be the official announcement that Rutgers will leave the Big East to join the Big Ten, which will complete the expansion of the conference’s television footprint into both the New York and Mid-Atlantic region.
Will this latest regional shuffle signal the end of the realignment frenzy?
Don’t hold your breath. It has reached the point where I wouldn’t be surprised if Hawaii announced that it is going to fill the spot left open in the Big East. I mean, who would have thought we’d have to give up the Maryland/Duke rivalry and Twinkies in the same week?