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.