A few days ago, we started to hear some rumblings that the Big East Conference would like to snap up the University of Maryland (along with Boston College) as part of their "dream scenario."
The dream scenario would be the current league, plus TCU and BC and Maryland and if three schools of that quality were added, then a 12th school could be a Villanova or Central Florida and the conference would clearly be better.
I swear, the Big East won't be satisfied until they get everyone to be part of their conference. Why can't you just be satisfied with what you have? Their greediness aside, though, does it actually make sense for the University of Maryland to abandon the ACC and head over to the Big East? Time for a good ol' fashioned gamed of Pros and Cons.
The Big East would be, presumably, much greener pastures, if you catch my drift. The greatest incentive for joining the Big East would be a lot of money coming in from a proposed new television deal that could bring in a bunch of money for all of the teams involved, including the Terps.
Facing a fairly large deficit in the Athletic Department, you can imagine that this would be a pretty attractive proposal for them. Unfortunately for the Big East, this is really the only positive I can see from joining the Big East. Then again, it's a pretty big one.
This is going to be the same argument you always hear from the old guys in sports media when a conference shake up like this is proposed, but here goes: "what about the history?!?!?!?" The ACC is all that Maryland knows. They are recognized with the conference as much as any other school, and it would just feel weird to see them with a different patch on their jerseys.
Let's not forget about the rivalries. It would be nice to gain a built in rivalry to West Virginia every year, but could you live without two basketball games against Duke and North Carolina every year? Isn't it fun to have a guaranteed win or two against N.C. State every year? Maryland embodies ACC basketball, and I think it would be devastating to give that up.
Really, is going to the BIg East a real step up in either of the two revenue sports? Their basketball has been deep for the past few years, but when the ACC is at it's best, they are as good as anyone. In football, neither conference is much of a power house, and the new Big East TV deal hasn't even happened yet. They're hoping to play off Comcast/NBC and ESPN to get a great TV package, but what if that doesn't work? The big feather in the Big East's cap is now gone.
I don't think it would be beneficial for Maryland to leave the ACC and head to the Big East. For a case study, I look at Boston College after they moved to the ACC. Sure, they fit in just fine, but does it really feel like they belong here? Don't they just kind of seem out of place? Maryland could either be one of the banner schools in the ACC or a constant outsider in a watered-down Big East. In terms of just sports affiliation, it seems like a no-brainer to me.
Now having said that, money tends to trump all. Like I said, the athletic department has a major budget shortfall, and a big influx of cash from a television deal might be too good to pass up if they don't think that they can pull themselves out of that debt by their own devices.
So if I was making this call, I would politely say no thank you. But would I be totally surprised if they made the jump to the Big East for a big payday? Not at all. That, ladies and gentleman, is the problem with collegiate athletics.