I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
The link is here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/terps/bs-sp-terps-big-ten-1107-20131106,0,2282119.story. Some excerpts:
The public relations campaign was meant to help turn the tide in favor of the move. It included hiring a corporate communications consultant to help shape the message and also working to prevent news of the negotiations from getting out before the move was imminent.
Ullmann [Asst VP of marketing and communications] also wrote that the school planned to "engage professional assistance in helping to drop positive messages into the blogs, comments and message board sites. I will arrange for this service today."
Many of the emails discussing the PR strategy copied top Maryland administrators such as president Wallace Loh and Anderson. The school routinely circulated emails chronicling and commenting on stories, blogs and tweets about the Big Ten move. Consultants also reached out to certain media members, either criticizing them for negative commentary or praising them for supporting the move.
Lee Zeidman, the corporate communications consultant who helped Maryland draft letters and talking points, said Wednesday that it is "standard operating procedure" in the business world to weigh in directly on message boards. "There are special PR agencies who work in the digital space who bombard blogs and newspaper sites where no one puts their name," Zeidman said.
In the days before the Big Ten discussions were made public, Maryland and its consultants considered how to release the story.
"Scott Van Pelt is a powerful voice in the media and a loyal UMD grad," public relations consultant John Maroon wrote to a Maryland communications official before the story broke. "It would be in our best interest to let Van Pelt break the story and talk about all of the positives."
It's interesting to me that blogs like this one would be the targets of this kind of activity. But I suppose it's not surprising. This is the brave new world of college athletics and conference expansion, I suppose. With so much money at stake, administrators needs to control the message as much as possible.
With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers the conversation has centered around
WHY, WHY, WHY, TV sets and whether or not this was just a cover for Delaney to ditch Leaders and Legends. MGoUser trppwlbrnID asked the question that should always be asked, what about recruiting?
With the addition of the two schools, I dug into their recruiting bases and how much opportunity there might be for Michigan to jump into some new territories.
Home state of Maryland recruits (2009-2013 classes) weighted by consensus rating
Nearly half of Maryland’s last five classes have come from Maryland and Washington, DC. These two regions would have the most likely opportunity for Michigan. Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida are regions that aren’t going to give any advantage because Maryland has joined the Big Ten.
Home state of Rutgers recruits (2009-2013 classes) weighted by consensus rating
Over half of Rutgers’ recruits came from the home state of New Jersey. Like Maryland, Rutgers has looked to Pennsylvania and Florida as key secondary regions. So that leaves just the home regions of New Jersey, Maryland and DC as areas that Maryland and Rutgers have had success that seem viable for Michigan to make new inroads into.
Over the last five years, there have been 73 players from New Jersey, Maryland and DC that have garnered a consensus 4 star level rating. Five schools have signed at least four of these players. Penn St has signed 9 of these players while the new members of the Big Ten have signed 7 each. Florida and Michigan have each signed four. When you look at the totals by conference (excluding Maryland and Rutgers from any conference) the Big Ten is already the leading team in recruiting these key regions.
The Big Ten is already getting about a third of the players not going to the new members. Adding Maryland and Rutgers into the Big Ten count gives them 45% of the top recruits from the region. In terms of quantity, there doesn’t seem to be much upside for Michigan in the newly acquired regions on a quantity basis. Some of the ACC signees may end up going B1G but even taking a third of these players is still just one extra recruit for the conference per year.
The Elite Opportunity
During the same five year period, the Maryland/Rutgers region has produced 15 players who were consensus Top 100 level players only one signed with a Big Ten team (Eli Apple, OSU) and Maryland (Stefon Diggs) and Rutgers (Darius Hamilton, Savon Huggins) were each only able to sign three of the fifteen. Of the other 11, four went to other ACC schools, 3 to the SEC, 3 to the Pac-12 (one of which was the embattled Yuri Wright) and one to Notre Dame.
Overall, the Big 10 and Michigan already have a solid presence in the local areas where Maryland and Rutgers have the most success. The area that seems the most likely for Michigan to gain a new advantage will be the elite level recruits that have been avoiding the Big Ten presently.
The Michigan Opportunity
As noted above, Michigan is already doing better than most at signing 4 star talent from the region. There is certainly an opportunity to do more, but this shouldn’t be a major change for Michigan. The biggest windows of opportunity are probably in some of the Top 100 type players. Recent names such as Stefon Diggs and Kendall Fuller are players who Michigan might have had a better shot at with the new footprint (although Fuller’s recruiting did overlap with the news). This isn’t a massively talent rich region but it has enough to produce a couple elite prospects annually. Michigan and Ohio should be most poised to step in and take advantage, especially with Penn State buried for the next several recruiting cycles.
The more difficult to quantify opportunity is probably Virginia. Maryland isn’t a major player in the state, but with the Derrick Green commitment and the recruitment of Da’Shawn Hand the opportunity to play two games in neighboring Maryland should definitely help solidify Michigan’s position as a major player in Virginia recruiting.
I started this as a response to the diary by maizeonblueaction, but I figured it would get more play on the main board. I'm interested to find if anyone cares to defend the B1G acquisition of Rutgers and Maryland. I feel like cable contracts with the BTN are not the end all, be all factor as to whether our forray out east will be successful.
I'm not as sold on BTN bound TV sets being the sole reason to branch into populace areas. Sure, that's a huge focal point for now, but it's not the only thing. When speculating on decisions, there is a general trend to underestimate those who come to said decisions. It's easy to poke holes in most arguments, as there are very few 'no-brainers'. Sure, there are stupid people everywhere, but by and large the people who have cash to back up their decisions have proven themselves in some facet. It is presumptuous to assume that a rag tag group of message board patrons have out-thunk a group of people who make insane amounts of money to assure that even more insane amounts of money and power are retained by said group.
I can list a few other items that should not be overlooked in the event that TV channels are no longer bundled. These are listed from the perspective of CFB, but can also apply to other sports in some cases...
1. Recruiting. This is not to be undersold. Higher population equates to more talent that can be swayed into staying home. In this instance, the Nebraska coup was a net drain on the conference. Sure, Nebraska will hold onto some of their recruiting territories in Texas and out west, but most of their kids will need to be cherry picked from the midwest. We have one more heavyweight eating from the same piece of pie. Conversely, New Jersey and Maryland are hot states for football recruiting. Though the schools may be lightweights, they've brought more pie to our party! In a way, bringing them into the fold helps mitigate our fat uncle Nebraska. ( I swear this is the last time I analogize high school recruits to pie. It's creepy.)
2. Word of mouth. Even if we can't edge our way into the TV sets of the entirety of Baltimore, DC, and the greater NYC area, getting our foot in the door creates a starting point. If mouths start talking about the Big 10 in those areas, they have the power to spread our gospel like a targeted plague. You can even speculate that if Rutgers and Maryland benefit from the status of being in the Big 10, they will be able to raise the profile of their teams and compete on a national stage, bringing even more relevancy.
3. Lamestream media coverage. I despise the term. But the mainstream media will parrot what it thinks is best for self preservation. When ESPN sees that the large demographics are now more tuned into B1G interests, it will cater to that demand. More curious eyes means more exposure. More exposure means more curious eyes. I guess this dovetails with number 2 on my list, but it stands as a potential point. The antithesis of this is the NHL. It is, by all means, a great product. But Bettman and lockouts and unwarranted expansion that dilutes the product caused a lot of casual fans to turn away. Now, ESPN couldn't take enough pay to touch the league, which threatens to further nichify the sport.
4. Access to coastline. In the event of Civil War II breaking out between the B1G and the SEC, any military person recognizes the basic need of coastline. Nobody likes to be landlocked. Laugh now, but crazier shit has happened.
Washington Post has an article detailing the process and negotiations that brought Maryland to the Big Ten.
A couple points I found interesting:
- Jim Delany definitely discussed the new Big Ten division format with Maryland. In my opinion, the Big Ten office already has a plan for new divisions, and this new survey is just a front to make fans think our input is actually being considered.
- Maryland is getting money front-loaded in the deal to address their debt crisis unlike Nebraska who had their share increase incrementally over several years to full share.
- Once the story started breaking, the deal moved fast. Brandon left the last meeting with Delany not knowing a deal was imminent.
Just wanted to generate some discussion about lacrosse on the Board this evening. I haven't seen any talk about how Maryland moving to the B1G will affect the lacross programs in the conference. Maryland obviously has a premiere lacross program that is a regional fit among other mid-Atlantic schools. Does anyone know what will happen with that sport?
[EDIT: This is all I've seen on Michigan lacrosse recently: http://mgoblog.com/links/michigan-lacrosse-quietly-releases-2013-schedule - no Maryland on the 2013 schedule (obviously).]
Via this SI Article. I know this has been mentioned before, specifically with the sports cutting Maryland is doing, but this article provides a compact time line of the Terps woes. In 2011 they ran a 7.8 million dollars into the red. The author does throw out some claim that by 2020 Maryland could have a revenue stream exceeding 100 million per year thanks to them joining the B1G, but the reality is we just brought in a school that needed a loan from the state to pay its football coach. Urgh.