Yow: "We are happy in the ACC"

Athletic director Deborah Yow said today that Maryland remains rooted in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"I haven't heard anything from the Big Ten, and, to the best of my knowledge, Dr. (C.D. "Dan") Mote (the university president) has not either," Yow said in an interview on Saturday.

"The Big Ten is a terrific conference, but Maryland is a charter member in 1953 of the ACC and we are happy in the ACC. These are deep roots."

If you are trying to parse her words, consider that Yow -- and this is not the first time she has done so -- went a step beyond where she needed to. She could have merely said there has been no contact with the Big Ten. She went further by volunteering Maryland's satisfaction with the ACC and noting how deep the ties run. Maryland is one of seven original ACC members.

By the way, Dr. Mote, the university president, has been on a China trip during all this heated speculation about conference shifts. He returns in the middle of next week.

My sense is that the ACC, which has been finalizing a new, 12-year TV deal with the ESPN "family," considers itself on solid footing.

The ACC has formed a committee (Maryland and the other schools are represented) to study the implications of all the national realignment. If a couple of its member schools bolted, the ACC believes there would be other worthy candidates to fill the gap. It's not a conference about to fall apart. It's not going to get cherry-picked to death.

You never say "never" on the issue of conference shifts. But I think there is a certain gravity -- an institutional weight -- that binds Maryland to the ACC. It's akin to a longtime employee weighing a job offer from a rival company. Leaving a job may get you more money, but it means losing seniority, certain benefits and familiarity.

It's hard to put a price on familiarity. In Maryland's case I'm talking about deep-seated histories with Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and others, plus manageable travel between the ACC schools. That stuff is worth money, of course, but it also carries intangible benefits such as goodwill among your fans.

I'll have more on this, of course, but now it's your turn to weigh in.

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