Emails Detail Extensive Maryland PR and Media Campaign to Change Impressions About Big Ten Move

By DJ Byrnes on November 7, 2013 at 10:01a
The (Trolling) Terps

Remember when the fact Maryland joining the B1G was met with a resounding "meh"? It appears that feeling was mutual. From The Baltimore Sun:

COLLEGE PARK — The University of Maryland anticipated most fans would initially react "emotionally and negatively" to last year's decision to join the Big Ten Conference. So the school sought to influence the debate with a plan to lobby media pundits and plant positive comments into fan message boards.

Scores of documents and emails, obtained by The Baltimore Sun in response to a Public Information Act request, detail a public relations strategy that was as secret as the Big Ten negotiations themselves.

... "So far, this is unfolding just as we expected," Brian Ullmann, the university's assistant vice president for marketing and communications, wrote in an email to deputy athletic director Nathan Pine on Nov. 18, one day after negotiations on the impending move were disclosed in the media. "We knew that in the absence of our messaging during this initial stage, most fans would react emotionally and negatively. That has occurred and clearly the message boards and comments sections skew heavily negative. Several of us placed comments on boards and media sites last night to help balance it out."

Yes, higher-ups at Maryland apparently read message boards. Them posting positive comments is also true:

So Maryland didn't want the B1G, and the B1G didn't want Maryland. Take a bow, everyone. 


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jvd253's picture

"A guy from Ohio can make it in life if he works hard enough." - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

TheBadOwl's picture

I get that Maryland is extremely "meh" but what were the other alternatives? Realistic ones, not Notre Dame or Oklahoma or Texas.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

741's picture

Stand pat?
Make a serious play for Missou before they went to the dark side?
I can come up with lots of better alternatives than Maryland (or Rutgers).
Bottom line: IMHO this was a shitty, dillutive, short-term money grab by the B1G that I believe ends up weakening the conference long term from a competitiveness standpoint and ultimately erodes economic value.
P.S. Maryland fans should LOVE this deal. The B1G will hand them $200+ million over the next 10 years they wouldn't have had otherwise.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

They don't care about that. They just want home games against UNC and Duke every year in basketball.
Well, look at it this way. At least there will be less rioting in College Park, making it a safer place for you and me.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Deshaun's picture

It's always disappointing when people claim to have similar interests, but supremely lack vision.

1) People in the positions of Jim Delaney and Larry Scott should rarely begin a strategy session with "be realistic." It's self-defeatist. Have some confidence, tact, and a vision of where you want your organization to go. Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Texas are actually extremely attainable, particularly the latter two. Think bigger than "realistic ones" like Missouri, Kansas, and Georgia Tech.

2) Maryland was a nice addition that should work out in time, though it looks "meh" in the short term. Good school, good demographics, solid athletic department, great location just outside DC, and solid football tradition (seriously, they finished 4 seasons ranked by the AP since 2001. That's more than Texas A&M, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, Mississippi St, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and tied with South Carolina). These are 40+ year decisions, not 4 year decisions. 4 years ago, Cincinnati was 12-0 and Stanford hadn't lost less than 3 games in a season since 1969. Who is the stronger program today? Maryland has a higher ceiling and more potential to reach that ceiling than the Boston Colleges and Louisvilles of the world. Rutgers? Not so much.

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

While I think Tex and OU would be great additions, Texas doesn't seem to be a team player...much like ND, they would expect special  treatment because of their "brand name".   Their brand is no more powerful than tOSU and TTUNN

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.



Maryland obviously wasn't "meh" enough to not want to grab the extra millions they're going to get from joining the B1G, regardless of whether their sports programs suck or not. They willfully burned down all the tradition and history they had built in the ACC (founding member for cripes sake) for that money grab then have the audacity to be "meh" anyway? Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth and calling him Charlie.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Kaceybrown's picture

To be honest, I'm glad. I hate all current members of the B1G not wearing buckeye leafs albeit some more than others, and I don't have problem continuing that once they join. Now, what can we dig up on Rutgers?

sharks's picture

They don't want us, we don't want them, but the higher ups like money, so here we are.

A man got to have a code...

Nkohl13's picture

It's like our parents set us up on a play date with the weird kid that wears goofy clothes. 

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Boston College would have been a much better pick. Buckeye road games in crappy Maryland, or Boston?  I'd take BC with slightly more tradition, and as big of a television market.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

Bucksfan's picture

That's laughable.

Dean's picture

To be fair, they were playing in Jacksonville, a weird place for a game between Va. Tech and BC, though their fans obviously don't travel well.

Bucksfan's picture

Did you watch VaTech at BC last weekend??  The stadium was about half-full.  BC pretty much has no fans.  They're Xavier with a football team.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

ok, you posted a picture of a conference game in Jacksonville? Here's a home conference game for Maryland:

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I guess what I mean is if we are going after TV sets in adding Maryland, why not go for an expanded market in Boston? Doesn't Rutgers sort of cover the NY/DC market?  Maryland without Under Armour is nearly a bankrupt school and a perpetual doormat. I guess they can't all be winners. I'm not saying Boston College will put a better team on the field, but I would think covering NYC and New England TV markets would be better than NY and DC. I could be wrong.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

Bucksfan's picture

The scoreboard says there is 1:03 left in the game with Maryland up 33-7.  Nice try.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Good call. Well at least I picked a home game and not one halfway across the country. Just sayin. BC has better football fans and better tradition in a better city.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

tommrkr's picture

It looks like they are down 7-33 in the 4th with 1:03 to go.  I'd probably go home and drop a deuce, too.

buckeyedude's picture

I've seen MAC games at Toledo and BGSU with more fans than this. I completely understand why B1G fans would be "meh" with Maryland and Rutgers joining the B1G. But MU and Rutgers should be absolutely fricking thrilled with all the $ they're going to make in the B1G, even if they're teams suck.



DannyBeane's picture

I kinda want Maryland... but just for basketball. The ACC can keep their football team.

BucksfanXC's picture

And Lacrosse. Rumor that the might be interested in hockey too, but a B1G lacrosse league would be sweet.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

sbentz4's picture

Delaney beat you to it. And we added Johns Hopkins too, only for men's lax.

osubuck57's picture

The Terp fans may not see this as a good thing, but they won't be hating on the money they get from the BIG, when it comes to bowl appearances. And a much wider recruiting base.


Jack Fu's picture

So Maryland didn't want the B1G, and the B1G didn't want Maryland. Take a bow, everyone.

Maryland's fans didn't want the B1G. Their broke-ass athletic department couldn't jump at the cash fast enough.

BucksfanXC's picture

I came in here looking for people to have opened new accounts to make comments like:
NOTMARYLAND'SAD: "Come on guys, Maryland is a great add to the B1G!"
EVINKAY_NDERSONAY - "The Terps are gonna bring it to the B1G, or so I heard from someone, a guy I know"

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Nick's picture

Maryland and Rutgers have huge potential to be powerhouse schools in both football and basketball. Both are in very populated and talent rich areas that has traditionally been poached by the big schools like Ohio State, Florida, USC etc. With the B1G money and improvements more of those kids will stay home.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

But the Maryland uni's are really cool!

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

741's picture

Under Armor and Adidas should be banned from the B1G. #hideous

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

Has anyone considered that UFM has taken advantage of the larger footprint and gone into NJ and the rest of the easy coast?
not sure if the addition of Maryland or Rutgers is the cause, but playing there every two years will have a profound effect on recruiting, IMHO 

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.