On July 1 the University of Maryland left their long-time home in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten Conference, a conference that statistically has had some of the best college sports teams in the country.
The Terps leave behind a 61-year tenure in the ACC with 192 conference championships, the second largest number of championship wins of any team in ACC history. Maryland helped found the ACC in 1953 after leaving the Southern Conference alongside Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest.
“By being a member of the Big Ten Conference, we are able to ensure financial stability for Maryland athletics for decades to come,” University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said at a news conference with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Athletic Director Kevin Anderson.
With a sports program in a lot of debt, long term financial stability is just what Maryland was looking for. At the end of June Loh wrote in a commentary piece for the Baltimore Sun that in 2011, the athletics program reported a large operating deficit that was several years in the making.
“This deficit was projected to mushroom in the coming years — putting at risk the entire program — unless we cut expenses and increased revenues of our athletics operations,” Loh said.
“I think overall it is a good decision and financially it made complete sense,” Montgomery County resident Kyle Pleet said.
Maryland wasn’t the only school having problems with the ACC. Florida State University and Clemson University were both considering leaving the ACC at one point, though both chose to remain. Rutgers also joined the Big Ten.
While one door closed, another one opened. On Nov. 28, 2012, the ACC’s Council of Presidents voted to invite the University of Louisville into the ACC. Louisville is taking Maryland’s spot in the ACC after being in the Big East since 2005.
The Big Ten divisions will no longer be named after Legends and Leaders – instead there will be the East division and the West division.
The East division will include Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. The West will include Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.
Maryland’s football team will be one of the first Terps sports teams to participate in the conference.
Sophomore running back Jacquille Veii said he welcomes the Big Ten with open arms.
“It’s exciting, definitely a new challenge,” Veii said. “But they put their pads on the same way as us.”
Last year the Terps enjoyed a 7-6 record and a bowl game and were ranked in the country’s top 25 college football teams. Although they lost the Military Bowl to Marshall 31-20, it was an improvement from the previous year’s 4-8 total record, 2-6 ACC record and lack of a bowl game.
This year the Terps are scheduled to play more top 25 teams, based off of last year’s rankings, than last year.
Some football fans said they don’t foresee Maryland having the same success as they did last year, but other sports fans said they see the conference change benefitting the other sports programs at Maryland. Terps Lacrosse looks hopeful this year as the team finished 13-4 last year with a 4-1 ACC record.
A majority of fans said the move is going to be great financially, though many fans said they don’t see it working out so well in the first year.
“They wouldn’t move if it wasn’t beneficial,” Veii said.