April 8th ACC-B1G Integration Forum

I attended an ACC-B1G integration open forum on campus today and I took away a few notes, of which I will share. Mary-Ann Rankin, Linda Clement and President Loh were among those who spoke in the beginning, offering progress on their respective committees and the transition to the B1G. Then, Barry Gossett moderated the open question and comment portion. Some points:

1. We were constantly reminded that a) Loh signed a confidentiality agreement and b) the amount of money we will be getting from the B1G is still not definite, so there were no questions answered about the exit fee or any other specific financial matters.

2. Two different students spoke about financial aid, and asked the committee and/or Board of Trustees to consider sending more money to both need-based and merit-based scholarships.

3. The swimming team was well represented, as they had a current senior talk and a few alumni, all of whom echoed the importance of the team, the rich history of swimming, our fantastic resources at Eppley and one mentioned the hotbed of swimmers in the DMV, although Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin were not mentioned by name.

4. I forget who said it, but one of the chairwomen said that they had talked to all but four of the coaches about their concerns. She admitted that Mark Turgeon had not met with the committee yet, as he has been "pretty busy lately."

5. In the marketing aspect, Mary-Ann Rankin discussed what they had talked about in regards to outreach. She emphasized the need to market the B1G around campus more--as a student, I can confirm that the 'ACC' on the baseball outfield wall has been covered up by an Under Armour ad--and she also realized the need to market better for retailing B1G gear, as it will bring in extra revenue.

6. When someone asked what the biggest non-revenue sports are in the B1G, an athletic representative responded with wrestling and volleyball, especially on the women's side, which surprised no one. But he also remarked on sports that may need work: Men and Women's Lax and Field Hockey. With Rutgers, women's lax will have six teams, Men's will have five (he did say that they were in talks to expand with other schools, but no one was mentioned by name) and FH will have nine, making it the biggest field hockey conference in the nation.

7. Lastly, a professor in the Maryland kinesiology department shared his comments. He said that he recently attended a conference with all of the kinesiology departments in the B1G, and was very impressed with the quality and innovation of ideas about sports medicine. He also discussed nutrition and when Gossett asked him if he had every participated in something like that in the ACC, he said no. Seemed to be saying the B1G blew the ACC out of this water in this aspect.

Some miscellaneous tidbits...

1. Kevin Anderson was there, but he did not talk. He did however, respond to Gossett's inquiry when someone asked if we had talked to other schools affected by conference realignment, like West Virginia or Oklahoma. (We have.) Gossett also said that he is good friends with the president at WVU and they've been in communication.

2. The women's lacrosse coach and wrestling coach were in attendance, as they are on the committee, but neither were addressed during the forum.

3. President Loh took a backseat, as he only delivered a few opening statements and remarked on the good turnout. I would guess about 100 people showed up to listen.

Overall, the transition seems to be moving well, except for maybe that pesky exit fee. The CIC was highly regarded by many of the speakers and everyone was in agreement that a renewed sense of Maryland pride was definitely needed to succeed. I did not take notes and was forced to rattle these off the top of my head, so I apologize for any incoherence, but if anyone has any further questions, I'd be happy to try to answer. I apologize if any of this news is redundant, but I just wanted to fill anyone if they were curious. Thanks.

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