How Maryland came to join the Big Ten

Submitted by Leaders And Best on December 12th, 2012 at 9:56 AM

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.



December 12th, 2012 at 9:58 AM ^

The survey was BTN, not the Big Ten. They're putting it out there for content. The guys who make this decision couldn't care less what you want.

Leaders And Best

December 12th, 2012 at 10:25 AM ^

but the survey says the results are being forwarded to the conference office. Yes, I have always thought they could care less what the fans think, but the survey gives the impression that the conference is considering fan input and that the divisional setup is still under consideration.

I guess the point I was trying to make is that I think the new divisional setup is already finished (probably even keeping Legends and Leaders), and the conference is delaying the release and putting out this survey to manage damage control and blowback from the fans.


December 13th, 2012 at 12:46 AM ^

I'm sure whatever the results are, they can find a way to spin them into the desired outcome. When the poll shows overwhelming fan rejection of Leaders and Legends they'll just use that as an excuse to rename them the Jim Division and the Delaney Division.


December 14th, 2012 at 9:55 AM ^

I will now forward this thread to the conference office.

The implication is there to get you to take the survey; I really honestly truly believe that BTN is serious about it because the guys who wanted to put the survey out there care about preserving rivalries. Those are NOT the guys who make the decision. The ADs, the presidents of the universities, and the commissioner are the people who need to decide, and they have proven themselves so resistant to any reality but their own that they added Maryland and Rutgers to the conference, put Michigan and Ohio State in opposite divisions in the first place, and thought "Leaders and Legends" was a great idea for division names (I'm willing to bet the "building Leaders, fostering legends" marketing campaign was mentioned at the time).


December 12th, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

its been two years and a growing pet peeve for me is the constant "leaders legends i don't know which herp is in which derp the big ten doesn't get! demographics! rust belt! CEOs!" that you hear from everyone in the world.

yet, for pro football, we clearly say that Houston is one of the best teams in the AFC, while Dallas is obviously NFC or that Indy is obviously in the south while baltimore is in the north with cincinnati which is south of indianapolis! fake outrage! also, st louis is a typical National League team, while you could not get more American Leauge than the Royals.

and as much as traditional sports fans that we are pine for the days of the Norris Division and the Campbell conference in hockey, it took no time at all for a nationwide flip out about who goes into which divisions and does not seem to be getting better.

bottom line - nothing makes sense, it never really has, it just takes time for your brain to adapt to something that makes the same amount of non-sense that is a bit different now and adding teams and giving them another chance is not going to make your brain feel better, so can we just stop with the "division names are all wrong - blargh!" because your job as a fan is to understand the above comment and move along without pissing each other off too badly.




December 12th, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

I +1'd this in real life and +1000'd it in my head.  Outrage over Leaders and Legends ought to pale in comparison to outrage over quite a bit of the other stuff Delany is doing.  Of course, I get this as well: the argument that "we're just not used to it" could very easily apply to things like "Rutgers in the Big Ten" or in fact any change at all, but I find Leaders and Legends exponentially less appalling than many, many other things in college football.


December 12th, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

Would be really interested to hear the conversation around Big Ten Lacrosse. The article says, "Loh and Anderson needed to hear about plans for lacrosse in the Big Ten, where the sport isn’t a mainstay as it is in College Park."



December 12th, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

Obviously this is of great interest to me as well, and it's not surprising that it was an important issue for Maryland.  We all hear the Virginia and UNC rumors.  Either one of those schools would get the B16 to the required 6 to start sponsoring men's lacrosse.  The other rumor that I keep hearing is that Johns Hopkins is in play as a potential associate member, just for lacrosse.  That would be unprecedented for the Big Ten obviously, but very intriguing for the lacrosse world.


December 12th, 2012 at 11:10 AM ^

will be one change to the divisions or the conference format, either Michigan and Ohio State will be moved to the same division or the game with be played earlier in the year.  The one situation the BIG has to avoid at all costs is Michigan v. Ohio State regular season game being meaningless because they are locked into the title game against each other.  That would be a proposterous scenario and they have to adjust things to avoid that taking place.  I would not adverse to having the game played at different times each year, although I know most people would kill another human being before that takes place.


December 12th, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

There has to be change and rather than play earlier in the year (yet, I'm ok with it at this point if it re-aligned the divisions) I would prefer Michigan, osu and 1-2 mid powers like msu, Iowa or NW get put in one conference with the absolute scrubs filling the rest. This guarantees no UM-osu CGs but gives meaning to the conferences (and nations) biggest rivalry. Give Nebraska: psu, wizzy and the leftovers of msu/iowa/nw with their random filling of remainders. As the divisions sit now (even before psu got nuked) they were insanely lopsided and poorly named. This way, odds are that one of the "Big2" will be in the title game each year without it being a walk but common and the opponent will always be a team that can beat either one of them on a good day or even if they get back to their levels (in Neb, Wizzy and PSU cases). Finally, go with "East-West" or "North-South" for names. Geographic perfection isn't a must (like in all conferences) but try to keep it logical. Keep Maryland and/or Rutgers in the "East" for example, etc.


December 12th, 2012 at 12:25 PM ^

The real story here seems to be:  Maryland came to the B1G because it hired a B1G guy as the university president, who had no previous ties to the ACC.  He wasn't a sports guy either, but teaming with B1G schools was just as logical to him as teaming with the blood-relative southern schools in the ACC.  It was cold economics to him, and given his background, it was an easy choice.

Living in the DC area, heck, this was a nonsensical choice.  U-Md belongs in the ACC, and there is no possible dispute about that.  For starters, Maryland is a rival at every level with Virginia -- seriously, these two states HATE each other.  With a passion.  It's not school v. school, it's Gentleman Refined Southerner (VA) vs. Backwater Neverdidanythingood Notreallyasoutherner (MD).  You should see how these states fight over things like sharing water of the Potomac River (they don't), or building a fracking third bridge over it to alleviate monstruous conjection on both sides (they won't, because each is afraid traffic will fall off at its airport, Dulles and BWI).  Sportswise, U-Md is tied to hip with Duke and NC and NC State and Wake, from basketball history.  There's all the lacrosse and soccer too.  And the lack of hockey.

But their new, came-from-Iowa univ prez didn't know or appreciate or care about these things.  So he made a cold choice, and now we have to suffer with Md in our midwestern conference.

I, for one, last year said we should have shown PSU the door.  If we are now stuck with Rutgers and UMd b/c we are trying to placate PSU.... dang, then PSU has @$$-f#$&ed us all yet again (pun obv intended).


December 12th, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

When you look at the population make up in the Washington DC area (and I've lived there much of my adult life), northern Virginia has as more in common with Maryland than it does with the rest of Virginia.  So dividing the two states up on that level along the Potomac River doesn't make sense.  If you want to draw a line somewhere, put it along the Rapahannock River and Fredericksburg.

UVa might be down in Charlottesville, but I've been down there a number of times and it looks and feels like another version of Ann Arbor.  Now it might have been the university that Thomas Jefferson built, but it's not very Southern.  In fact, I'd say it's rather more cosmopolitan (although I'd be hard pressed to say the same for the areas around Charlottesville).

The Maryland alums I know will say their biggest rivalries are on the basketball court with Duke and North Carolina (not much mention of Wake Forest or NC State).    If anything, that will be something they might potentially miss because there's every indications that the Big Ten will go to 16 schools in due course and those two schools (along with Virginia and Georgia Tech) are likely on the short list.

I understand the lacrosse thing to a point because there aren't enough men's teams to put together a league in the conference (although there will be six women's teams).  But all the remaining Big Ten members except Northwestern have club lacrosse teams, so there is the possibility of promotion.  If UVa and UNC get added to the Big Ten, then the problem gets solved that way for lacrosse (and soccer and field hockey).

I'm looking forward to the day when a Michigan football team plays Maryland in the DC or Baltimore area--and the same goes for a game against Rutgers in New Jersey.  Goodness knows it'll be much easier to get to than Ann Arbor.

Showing Penn State the door would have been assinine.  They're a valuable asset to the Big Ten (even in the wake of Jerry Sandusky) and the CIC.    



December 12th, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

What you say is true, but the political boundary between the states actually is significant. Northern Virginia was basically a backwater while Suburban Maryland was the premier suburb of Washington DC decades ago. Now, Northern Virginia has come into its own and has become more significant than Suburban Maryland economically an and is just as livable for the most part, which pisses off longtime residents and economic development officials/politicians in Maryland. And even though Maryland had slaves, being a part of the Union and being less politically and culturally conservative has always been something that Maryland has boasted about. Even if NoVa is different, it's still tied to Richmond. 

I agree about Charlottesville and UVA. I don't think it's more cosmopolitan than Ann Arbor, but I think it'd fit in to the Big Ten pretty easily. 


December 12th, 2012 at 9:11 PM ^

I really don't understand why people think Charlottesville is a fit for the Big Ten.  I'm a native Midwesterner.  I went to school in Charlottesville for four years.  I might as well have been from China for as foreign a concept as the Midwest is in Virginia.  They don't understand snow.  They don't understand hockey.  You know who used to be the designated house driver when it snowed?  This guy.

Midwestern speech is different.  Big states confuse them.  The idea that it's four and a half, five whole hours to Chicago from Detroit is a novel one, when they can be in NYC in that much time and go through six different states on the way.  They've never been to the Midwest.  They do their traveling and vacationing up and down the East Coast.  Like East Coasters, they figure the Midwest is a giant cornfield with rusty cities occasionally sticking up out of the farmland.  The only reason Charlottesville doesn't seem southern is because the student population is East Coast, except those from NC and the western/southern parts of the state that give it the southern flavor.  There are, by the way, entire fraternities devoted to a southern gentleman identity.

Yes, Charlottesville looks and feels like Ann Arbor.  (Kind of.  AA is much more urban.  There's a distinct university/town difference in C-ville, not so much AA.)  It also looks and feels like Athens, Georgia, so I don't see much persuasiveness there.


December 12th, 2012 at 10:21 PM ^

I went to Michigan and UVA and I'm not saying that UVA would be a perfect fit, especially not culturally. I think a lot of flagship universities with high-level academics/research and good/decent sports in very nice college towns could fit in the Big Ten. And the fact that UVA has a lot of East Coasters, like a few Big Ten schools and is located in the Mid-Atlantic helps given the recent expansions. I do disagree with a number of the characterizations you made about UVA and its environs, but if you do make those characterizations about UVA, you could also make them about Penn St., Maryland, and Rutgers to a similar extent. The southern gentleman mentality you mention is probably the most significant differentiating quality between UVA and Big Ten schools. 

I went to high school in Fairfax County, Virginia and it was funny how when I went to UM, I was seen as a southerner, in the pejorative sense, more than anything else and my buddy who's from Montgomery County, MD was seen as a cool East Coaster, so ignorance and geographical stereotypes are alive and well in Big Ten country as well. 


December 12th, 2012 at 11:01 PM ^


if you do make those characterizations about UVA, you could also make them about Penn St., Maryland, and Rutgers to a similar extent. 

Quite true, I certainly could, at that. There's a reason I'm unhappy about their inclusion. Well, several reasons, but that's one.  (PSU is different, I've tended to see them as more of a fit since western PA is more like the Midwest than it is the East Coast, though I'm sure they get plenty of East Coasters atttending school there.)

I don't mean to suggest that the Midwest is free of geographical stereotypes while the East Coast is full of 'em....quite the contrary, actually.  But I think the point is that down there they have stereotypes about "the Midwest" whereas we can tell the difference between someone from Michigan and someone from Wisconsin or Ohio....whereas they couldn't.  Similar to how Midwesterners stereotyped a difference that didn't exist between you and your Maryland friend.  Just illustrates the perfectly natural divide that exists between sections of the country.


December 13th, 2012 at 1:54 AM ^

I've seen this logic a lot that PSU is different because "like Pittsburgh == Cleveland bros", but sorry, it doesn't fly. PSU isn't in Western PA. It's almost equidistant between Pittsburgh and Baltimore. It's closer to Manhattan than Columbus, the nearest B1G school, by ~100 miles. Their major alumni centers are all on the east coast and they receive more media attention in Philly than Pittsburgh (where Pitt and WVU give them a serious run for their money). It's a culturally northeastern school geographically located in the mid-Atlantic. Really, it's the ideal counterpart for UVA and UNC. Their dream for nearly 50 years was organizing a conference to represent the northeast and if given the choice back in 1988 I'd bet most of their fans would have picked the Big East football conference that would eventually form over the B1G, easily. 

Also, it presumes that New Jersey and Maryland share nothing culturally with the traditional B1G area... both are former industrial hubs that have been decimated and both are sometimes claimed as being part of the rust belt for just this reason. Season 2 of The Wire, if I can be cliche, could have easily taken place here in Detroit or in Cleveland or Milwaukee or Toledo or Gary or what have you. 


December 12th, 2012 at 12:26 PM ^

It's like an unhealthy high school relationship. Maryland and Rutgers like us because we have money. Delaney likes Maryland and Rutgers because that gets the Big Ten in the northeast. We're just using each other. Seems healthy


December 12th, 2012 at 12:32 PM ^

This was a good read, and thanks for sharing it.

The one thing that I found interesting is that, despite being the President of the University Of Maryland, Wallace Loh comes at this decision from almost as much of an outsider's perspective as you can get, it seems. It seems like he did a pretty good job - from a business perspective - of framing the proposition of conference change as fiscally and academically responsible, which still makes it all about the money still essentially. I don't know if you can say that Wallace Loh was not looking out for the best interests of his school long-term (putting aside the shortcomings of Terrapin football, for example, as things brought to our conference much to our chagrin), leveraging the modern revenue model all the while - I had to chuckle too at the "you have to make it worth our while" part of the negotiation as well, for he at least he could use the ACC for leverage one last time.


December 12th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

ESPN reported that Maryland President Wallace Loh told the Board of Regents that the Terrapins were going to be in a division with Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue.

That means Michigan would be in a division with Illinois, Iowa, Mighigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.

Delany said shortly thereafter that later stated that no discussions had taken place on the matter.  Per the Chicago Tribune, that was confirmed by a second Big Ten official.……

It'll be interesting to see what transpires because you can imagine that the presidents and athletic directors all have their opinons on this matter.  They're all going to be look at the distributions of their alumni, how this effects their fund raising efforts, the effect of east coast media, travel costs for teams/fans and perhaps most importantly, get the input from the television networks and the BTN.

As a Michigan alum in the DC area, I have to say I'd love to have UM in an eastern division with Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana and Purdue.  The prospect of having the Wolverines playing once a year on the east coast in football would be a big plus.

The western division would include Michigan State along with Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Assuming the conference adopts a nine game schedule with one protected rival (MSU for Michigan, in this case), then that means UM will play the six other teams in the western division two times over a six-year period.

This would protect the majority of the rivalry games and it would help the Big Ten overall regarding the Big Ten Network by placing three of the name teams in the conference in the east.  

Michigan would annually play Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana, Purdue, Maryland and Rutgers.  The two other conference games could go like this:

Years 1/2 - Nebraska, Minnesota

Years 3/4 - Iowa, Northwestern

Years 5/6 - Illinois, Wisconsin

Add three non-conference games with one home-and-home series in order to ensure seven home games per year and the schedule would be set.  It may mean not playing for the Little Brown Jug each year, but that's all part of the trade off.


December 12th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

 Agree with you. IMO you have to protect the sanctity of that game. It has to always be valid. UM and OSU have to be in the same division…ALWAYS! Otherwise, long term it will lose much of its luster. Just not worth the money to me. Its even ok to split off MSU and set it up as protected yearly cross-game. Let lil’ brother grow some and either sink or swim. I am ok with that and also that it would most economically for all parties be better with a “regional” division, (east-west, north-south, etc) so agree probably best for travel costs to have UM/OSU/PSU fight it out yearly. (For competitive balance I feel IU/Purdue together vs split. Could be reversed but feel it would be lob-sided easterly.)

the Glove

December 12th, 2012 at 1:56 PM ^

Does anyone else feel like they should just add team 15 and 16 and get it over with? Then by 2014 when the playoff system starts everybody's already in the conference.

the Glove

December 12th, 2012 at 2:39 PM ^

Yes, but it would end the shifting of the Big Ten in time for the playoff. Delaney has made the comment in the past that 16 is a suitable number for a conference. Does that inevitably mean that there would never be any more expansion, no. With 16 teams though, you can make a rational schedule. Even Brain has put out article showing how 16 makes more sense than 14.


December 12th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

Yes, it makes more sense logistically for football scheduling to have 16 rather than 14, but it makes more sense to have 12 rather than either 14 or 16, so obviously that's not what is driving expansion--as we all knew already.

I also don't see what the 4-team football playoff has to do with having 14 or 16 teams.  It's not like there are automatic bids, and the Big Ten would have to have a team in the top 4 to make the semifinals.  Expansion (unless it involves a bigger name than is being mentioned right now) isn't going to make it any more likely that a Big Ten team makes the top 4.


December 12th, 2012 at 10:38 PM ^

No conference has proposed going over 16 other than the aborted CUSA-MW merger and the current A10 proposal, which probably won't happen. I think the eventual reality will be the B1G-SEC-Pac-12-Big 12 merging, but that won't be for a long ass time 


December 12th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

Really enjoyed reading this--always interesting to hear the actual story/details as to how these things come about.

And I especially liked this quote: "This was the best move for the university in terms of athletics and academics and finances. The package that was put together, the ACC could not begin to compete with.”