Do you know financial mumbo-jumbo, know the logic behind the move, know all the arguments, and still find yourself upset with the Big Ten move? Maybe Scott Van Pelt's highly-emotional appeal can sway you a bit.
SVP is a Maryland alum and a Terp lifer, with a background in the community to rival any fan's. He's always seemed like a regular fan merely provided a huge platform, and that quality about him has endeared him to most. He talked about the move today on his radio show - you can listen to it here, and I have a transcript below. Right then. I'll get out of the way.
Much of my youth is framed by memories that are tied to the ACC. The great players, the colors, the fight songs, the mascots, the coaches. It's a link to my youth. It's a link to my dad, who was a Terp, who I grew up sitting next to in Cole and Byrd who died when I was a student at Maryland. And like I've often said on this show, I am an ACC guy. I am admittedly nostalgic about the ACC. And I admittedly feel genuine sorrow today about this. And that's the right word - it's sorrow. And I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but I feel sorrow.
But I realize that what I feel nostalgic about is something that was lost a long time ago. I'm old enough to remember when the ACC added Georgia Tech and then Florida State. It was strange, but things change. Then there was the big one. You add Virginia Tech and Boston College and Miami, all in the name of football and it was gonna make everything better. But did it? A more cumbersome number of teams meant that home-and-homes in basketball - which is what this league was always about ... the home-and-home was a casualty.
Now Syracuse and Pitt are coming to the league and that means that going forward, Maryland was guaranteed in basketball two home-and-homes: with Pitt and Virginia. Now I don't mean any disrespect to Pittsburgh but they don't mean any more to Maryland than Maryland means to them. And that was supposed to be our rival, going forward.
And speaking of rivals - or, not our rival - so many Maryland folks now are lamenting the loss of what we would call the Duke game. And let's remember, folks, that's a school that doesn't see Maryland the way Maryland sees them. But besides that larger point, in the immediate future, there'd be far more years in basketball that you would not have a home game against Duke than years that you would.
So what it feels like is today, people are having a funeral for something that in many ways died a long time ago.
None of which is reason to walk away from the ACC, but it's at least context to consider what the Big Ten provides my school. They famously talked about 27 teams - they had 27 programs. As was well-documented, that was too many. They ran into some issues on the money front. And this provides an infusion of money. A huge infusion of money. The numbers the Big Ten was throwing around, I don't think that anyone imagined, I don't think that the real numbers will ever be known to the public [ed's note: they are now], and for an athletic department that was largely living check-to-check, this had to happen.
Now it's easy for people to diminish Maryland. Why would the Big Ten want them? I'll hit you with this: they really wanted 'em. They wanted the Baltimore/Washington TV markets, they wanted to be in the shadow of the nation's capital, it's an institution that's ranked in the top 60 that's in line with many of their member institutions. Their athletic history - which, folks, is longer than the last two years that you like to talk about: Maryland's got more bowl wins than Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, and the 2002 men's basketball title would be the most recent for anybody in their league.
But it's silly for me to sit here and try to validate my university. The Big Ten already did that with their intense pursuit. They made it impossible for Maryland to say no, in spite of ACC roots that run deep. And those roots run deep in a lot of us, myself included.
It's really strange to emotionally think about transitioning to something else, but I see the positives. As I told our athletic director Kevin Anderson: look, I love the ACC, but I love Maryland more, and if this is good for Maryland then I'm on board. And I'm assured that that's the case.
So that tempers the sorrow that I feel. And as Lefty Driesell used to famously say, [channels best Lefty impersonation] "I'm not gonna get caught lookin' in the rearview. I'm lookin' out the windshield." And as I look out the windshield, I see very different terrain ahead. But with the terrain in college athletics that are shifting, it's like sand beneath a lot of people's feet. I feel like the Big Ten and commissioner Delany, who seems to be playing chess to some others' checkers, I feel like there's a bedrock beneath Maryland.