Sports Commentary: Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!
Charles E.Sutton | 11/25/2012, 8:31 p.m.
The University Of Maryland athletic program was sold on Monday.
In 2014, the Terrapins will be leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten Conference. Over the past 59 years, the basketball team has built rivalries against North Carolina and Duke. They will exchange that for future nail-biters against Northwestern and Minnesota. The football team can get excited about finishing in the bottom half of the conference, and the lacrosse team will have to conduct a national search to find teams willing to fill a bunch of open dates.
I can appreciate university president Wallace Loh having the intestinal fortitude to admit the departure was primarily about money. For starters, it could mean about another $8 million annually. He tried to find some goodwill by indicating that some of the seven recently cut teams will be reinstated. Who gives a rat's bleep? No one believes this is about the water polo team. This is nothing more than a money grab, and after only two years on campus, Loh wasn't going to let this opportunity pass him by.
Loh along with athletic director Kevin Anderson sympathized with outraged fans that Maryland is leaving the conference. Can you believe they even spoke about mourning the loss of traditional rivalries, and cherishing the memories? This message came from two guys who arrived in 2010. If they were actual alumni, this might be somewhat plausible. But, they're not, and it simply smells fishy.
This is why you shouldn't hire outsiders to handle your program. They don't give a hoot about what local folks want. Loh boldly stated that the public's input shouldn't be a factor.
Maryland alumni love the ACC. Perhaps Maryland is fortunate to be first out. Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Florida State are intrigued by the Southeastern Conference. It's just a matter of time before the ACC has more newcomers than original schools. When money and tradition go head-to-head, seemingly, money always wins.
There's a $50 million exit fee that was intended to prevent schools from leaving. Loh said he has drafted several legal papers on subjects of this type. He wants to meet with league officials to have a private discussion which could lead to a courtroom showdown.
Let's face it, people can go back and forth all they want about Maryland exiting the ACC. The bottom line is that again, it's all about the money. Unfortunately, in this case, money won again.