Maryland Campus Excited About Big Ten Move

By Kyle Rowland on June 6, 2014 at 8:30a
51 Comments

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – In the campus bookstore. In the student union. On the football field. All over the University of Maryland’s campus in suburban Washington there are signs of the impending move to the Big Ten.

The Terrapins were charter members of the Atlantic Coast Conference when the league was founded in 1953. But in the 24-month conference expansion sprint, Maryland aligned itself with the Big Ten, a national brand name and bank vault. An athletic department that’s in financial ruins made a power play and the Big Ten pushed eastward, gaining a foothold in Washington.

Initial reactions to the move in 2012 could best be described as mixed. The ACC’s venom towards Maryland’s decision helped spur fans’ thoughts in favor of the Big Ten. Football ticket sales have surged, thanks in part to a home schedule that features conference kingpins Ohio State and Michigan State.

From 2011 to 2014, football season ticket sales have risen by 11,000. There were 5,000 new orders for the upcoming season alone.  The same rush in tickets is expected for men’s basketball, which also has a favorable home schedule.

On campus, students are enthusiastic about a new era that includes some of the top programs in college sports history. When the Terps defeated ACC champion Virginia in the basketball season finale, chants of “Big Ten” reverberated around the Comcast Center. The hash tag #ACCya also took over the College Park area.

“There’s a lot of excitement, especially for football,” said third-year economics major Matthew Zimmerman. “We’ve been lacking just filling out the stadium. This will help generate a passionate fanbase. Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State are all in our division. Seeing them, playing them will not only better the business side, the level of competition will play a big role. It will help open the Midwest for recruiting, and for the Big Ten, it opens them up to the East Coast.”

Spoken like an administrator instead of a student. Maryland head coach Randy Edsall believes the change in style and competition will lead to a summer filled with preparation. He compared it to preparing for a bowl game. In theory, Maryland’s 2014 schedule is 12 consecutive non-conference games. It can work in favor of the Terps and the opponent.

“It’s a win-win,” Edsall said. “I feel good because I’m going to a football conference, not a basketball conference. When you think about the Big Ten, you think about football and a toughness that goes with that that’s unbelievable.”

Edsall’s first two seasons were mired with poor play. There was also a lingering bitterness over former head coach Ralph Friedgen’s exit and Edsall’s own departure from Connecticut. Maryland was 2-10 in his first season and 4-8 in Year 2. The seat at his self-described dream job was suddenly becoming hot until a bowl trip last season.

The Terps started the season 5-1 before losing five of their final seven games. Still, they showed improvement with the Big Ten move looming.  

“We fully expect to be able to compete in the Big Ten this year,” Edsall said. “We’re really looking forward to it. We know it’s an outstanding conference and we’re proud and excited to be a part of it. We know we have to work very, very hard to be the best we can be. But we have all intents and purpose of coming in and competing.”

And why not? Maryland has one of the most electrifying players in the conference in wide receiver Stefon Diggs, a local kid who stayed home instead of attending Ohio State. In all, 18 starters return. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t legions of doubters.

Maryland – and fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers – has been mocked and insulted by opposing fans. Edsall realizes there’s a sense of proving people wrong. It’s a position he faced as UConn’s head coach when the Huskies went from FCS to FBS. That journey culminated in a BCS berth. The Rose Bowl might be years down the road for Maryland, but it won’t stop the imagery.

“It really energizes you,” Edsall said. “It’ll open up new recruiting areas for us. The opportunity for our kids to play in the Rose Bowl and compete in some of the stadiums that made college football will be a wonderful opportunity.”

Perhaps no impact will be greater than the uptick in recruiting. Historically, Maryland’s never been a powerhouse in attracting high-level high school talent. In the past five recruiting cycles, the Terps’ highest ranked class is 33rd. They currently have nine players from Big Ten states – all from Pennsylvania.

Edsall wants Ohio, Detroit, Indianapolis and St. Louis to become focus areas, and he believes the exposure from the Big Ten will lead to more national recruiting on the West Coast and in Texas. Maryland spends less than every other school in the Big Ten when it comes to recruiting, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The Terps spent under $800,000 in 2013 when the Big Ten average was nearly $1.5 million. When it joined the Big Ten, Maryland was in the midst of cutting seven sports while operating $83 million in debt. It’ll get tens of millions annually in league payouts, and the next TV contract could net the conference as much as $200 million. (Maryland and the ACC are currently in a legal battle over an exit fee.)

“We’ve had big issues with budgets and cutting sports. In that instance, to get sports back, I think [joining the Big Ten] is a good idea,” Zimmerman said. “The tradition is the reason some people are resistant, because we helped found the ACC. Some people think we belong here and that we should stay here. But the business side wasn’t working out for us. I think the Big Ten is a superior conference. In the long run, I think it’s a good idea.”

Athletic directors and coaches are thrilled when counting their money. They even buddy up with rivals when the financial windfall comes in. For Maryland, that rival would be Penn State. The two schools, which share a state border, have played 37 times, with Maryland winning a grand total of once – in 1961.

From 1960-1993, Maryland and Penn State met 30 times. The rivalry will be renewed in State College on Nov. 1. When Edsall was hired in 2011, he was in favor of starting a series with Penn State. Now when talking about competing against the Nittany Lions – on the field and on the recruiting trail – he uses words like challenging and opportunity. Edsall believes it creates a sense of urgency.

“To be able to get a rivalry like that going – we have to beat them – but to have the opportunity to play them on a yearly basis is something that I think will do our university and our state a lot of good,” Edsall said.

Some might caution Maryland to be careful what it wishes for, but its athletic stock is on the rise. 

51 Comments

Comments

FROMTHE18's picture

As of now it appears the sport that gains the most from Maryland's inclusion is Lacrosse, both mens and womens. Their basketball program hasn't been very solid recently and well, we know about their football program. I hope that B1G hoops helps make Maryland, Maryland again and football will make them competitive in the B1G East. The East is so loaded that I don't see them winning the division any time soon, but being competitive is a win for them IMO.

+1 HS
mr.green's picture

The Maryland women's hoops program is always one of the best in the nation. 

+3 HS
mr.green's picture

But you are right that lacrosse gets a huge boost. 

+1 HS
20sider's picture

I am super excited to see new B1G lacrosse. Maryland and Johns Hopkins are going to really boost the level of competition.

GO BUCKS!

+3 HS
703Buckeye's picture

I was at the OSU/JHU game in Baltimore this past February, it was an absolutely awesome event. Even though the good guys lost in 3OT's, it was still great proof how great of an addition Hopkins will be.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+1 HS
beserkr29's picture

B1G lacrosse is going to rival the ACC in the near future, probably surpassing it soon enough. OSU had a bit of a down year, but that's going to be rectified soon I AM sure. Adding Hopkins, Maryland and Rutgers is a big deal. Penn State is a perennial top 25 team. TTUN is recruiting a great class for 2014. Lacrosse is rising in the Midwest and it will be a delight to see.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I'm cheering for both Maryland and Rutgers to have successful seasons this year.  Good luck to them both in all games but one.

Read my entire screen name....

+2 HS
CC's picture

I bought season tickets to Maryland.  The Ohio State game was selling for $175 in our section, the entire season was $275 and I'll sell the rest of the season to my neighbors.

 

+5 HS
smokeybandit's picture

Maryland might have one of the worst football followings of any B1G team.  It'll always be easy to get tix for games there.  If you go to a sports bar in the area during a Maryland game, you'll see fans of several other teams, but maybe 1 or 2 Maryland fans, and they often leave at halftime.

-1 HS
YTOWNBUCKI's picture

It is not easy to get tickets.  Being in the DC area I marked this game once the schedule came out.  There isn't a ticket in the place going less than 100 dollars.  It's not like going to Purdue and paying 15 bucks a ticket.

+2 HS
CC's picture

That may be true, but OSU has the best following in the country so our game is super-expensive relatively speaking.

Maybe I'm an old-timer but I have issues buying scalped tickets anymore because they can be printed so easily.  You can't tell a real ticket from a fake.  I used to walk up to any game with cash in hand and never worry about getting in, now I'm not so confident.

DCNick's picture

I also bought season tickets. I went for the 2nd row in the upper deck for $275 per ticket. I saw what they were listing for on Stubhub and it seemed to make sense. After listing them and seeing the fees and what's actually selling I'm now less sure. I'm just hoping that Michigan State and Iowa have good seasons and that Rutgers fans are willing to travel down. Otherwise my friends and I are just going to sell the tickets to the OSU game to cut our losses.

+1 HS
Menexenus's picture

If you want to sell those OSU tickets, please DM me. I'll be glad to take them off your hands.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

YTOWNBUCKI's picture

I feel good because I’m going to a football conference, not a basketball conference.

I don't know if he's been watching college basketball in awhile, but the B1G is probably the premier basketball conference of the last few years.

+2 HS
rdubs's picture

This is true, but when people talk about the B1G they think football, when people talk about the ACC they think basketball.  OSU and Michigan run the B1G because of their football teams, UNC and Duke run the ACC because of their basketball teams.

buckeyedude's picture

You're correct, Ytownbucki, but historically, the B1G is a football conference.

 

 

jbcuky's picture

I agree the B1G is pretty good in basketball, but it's tough to call it the premier conference when we haven't won a title since 2000.

dcbucks's picture

If Maryland wants to start selling one of those sold out/red out stadium pictures they ought to have their marketing team snapping pictures during the OSU game. Just omit the scoreboard. 

+4 HS
Furious George 27's picture

IMO Maryland is in a win win situation with the B1G, I do not think they will  challenge for the east but I would not be surprised that they are a 8-4 or 7-5 team in the B1G. The draw of having OSU, MSU, *ichigan, PSU, Wisky, Nebraska & Iowa show up has got to be more appealing to fans than seeing the other scrubs not FSU, VT and sometimes da U.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

OSUpawn's picture

Of course their happy. Everyone wants to play with the big boys, until you get ran over. Then you start to understand your place.

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

Bucksfan's picture

I've never seen so much excitement to take one of the 2 empty seats next to Jimmy Indiana and Johnny Purdue in the "B1G Doormats Anonymous" meeting.

+4 HS
IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

When Maryland's football team has been competitive they've been very good. Their problem has been consistency and you can chalk that up to getting 1-2 good recruiting classes sandwiched by several subpar classes. Hopefully they're right and coming into the B1G helps their talent level. The LAST thing we need are the 2 new teams to come in and play worse than Purdue.

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

+2 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

I realize that Under Armour =/= Nike, but I hope that with time, the influx of cash from the B1G, and some positive momentum that Maryland will become the Oregon of the east coast.

For those not in the know, Under Armour founder, Kevin Plank, graduated from Maryland.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

+5 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Did not know that, but I echo your sentiments.

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

+1 HS
CC's picture

The last game I went to there, a few years ago, had the "We will protect this house" guy do it live.  It was pretty cool.

When it comes to college football and promoting a team, I'm not sure UA does != Nike.  In the grand scale, certainly, but around here UA is really big.

 

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

They have a long way to go in football before their program is competitive with the top tier B1G teams, let alone nationally, but how much worse can they be than Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, or Northwestern? Lots of money and an East Coast base should help them grow. I like the addition MUCH better than Rutgers.

Welcome to the B1G leagues Terpies.

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

Furious George 27's picture

They definately recruit better than the teams you mentioned.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

703Buckeye's picture

I'd like to think my thread post a couple days ago was the inspiration for this article. If so, you're welcome, haha.

FYI: The university has sold 19, 740 season tickets so far. We get tons of calls from Buckeye (and Spartan) fans about those games.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

buckeyedude's picture

If the University of Toledo can beat State Penn in unHappy Valley, so can Maryland.

But we'll see how excited the Turtle fans are after they get their asses handed to them vs. OSU and MSU. Anyway, I'm starting to get more interested in RU and Maryland in the conference. Count me as ready for football season.

 

 

+2 HS
Jpfbuck's picture

here is how I see MD season

Home against JMU - win (first loss of the Whithers era at JMU)

at USF - toss up

Home against WVU - toss up lean towards loss

at Syracuse - toss up

at Indiana - toss uo

home against OSU - loss

Home against Iowa - loss

at Wisky - loss

at PSU - loss

home MSU - loss

at TTUN - loss

home Rutgers - win

so if they spit the toss ups and go 2-2, then they are 4-8 and at best 2-6 in conference. if they are better than I suspect, then .500 is  possibility and maybe 3-5 in conference

this is a team that went 3-5 in the ACC last year and got beat by Marshall in their bowl in a virtual home game in Annapolis MD, blowing a lead and losing by 11

yeah they may have a lot back, but they were not very good last year against a much inferior conference so I see no improvement in their record and likely a fall

Furious George 27's picture

They weren't very good because of all the injuries they had, not because they lacked talent. A lot of those players coming back missed half the season. They had 9 starters out due to injury including Diggs when they were at 5-2 it does not matter who or where you play, losing that many players is going to destroy your team.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+2 HS
VintonCountyBuck's picture

MARYLAND CAMPUS EXCITED ABOUT BIG TEN MOVE

 

 

The air on Maryland's campus is probably similar to what Londoners felt, in anticipation of the impending German Blitzkrieg.

edit:  italics font not working

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

+2 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

On the bright side, Big Ten money and academic resources will be like Maryland's Marshall Plan.

+5 HS
buckeyedude's picture

That's a bit of an exaggeration, but given that it's the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I threw you an UV, VintonCo.

 

 

 

+1 HS
VintonCountyBuck's picture

Thanks Buckeyedude.  +1for you as well

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

+1 HS
Shangheyed's picture

You do know Gerries lost right?  :-P

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Maryland – and fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers – has been mocked and insulted by opposing fans. 

I don't know how competitive Maryland and Rutgers football programs will be in the Big Ten, but it chaps my a-- that anyone would mock them before they've even step foot in the conference.

First off, it's simply bad form to mock new arrivals/guests, especially ones that have traveled a tough road. Leave the mocking for entitled brats like Michigan fans. We have a duty to be good hosts and ambassadors to our new conference partners/foes - show some class. Let's act like Nebraska fans, not like Oregon fans.

Secondly, it makes no logical sense to mock part of your own investment portfolio, so to speak. Maybe Maryland and Rutgers will turn out to be poor investments in the strict sense of athletic program marketing, etc. - of course, we know that they're excellent academic additions to the conference - but why help push down their value ourselves?

+4 HS
45OH4IO's picture

I thought this was a sarcasm piece when I read the title.

gumtape's picture

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/terrapins-insider/wp/2013/05/16/maryland-receives-inaugural-big-ten-football-schedule-opens-at-indiana/

Our "vastly more talent rich, seasoned veteran squad" will likely get destroyed. Now that we're in the Big 10, you think we'll just start playing like a Big 10 team? You think we'll suddenly get all those great tri-state recruits that we always lost out on because now they get to be on a team that is lucky enough to have the chance to lose by 30 every year to Ohio St.?

Great stuff from realistic terp fans. It will be a good balance compared to those arrogant PSU fans.

just another psycho, irrational, delusional Ohio St fan

hetuck's picture

For a school that needs money, I'd have moved the OSU game to Fedex Field. I advocated sending an aerial shot of last year's Cal game to Maryland and Rutgers. Do you lose a campus feel and perceived home field advantage? Yes. Does an additional 20K in ticket sales help you take a step toward financial stability? Absolutely. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

-1 HS
703Buckeye's picture

Maryland likes keeping games on campus as it helps out other parts of the university and the businesses in College Park. However, they will play Penn State in Baltimore in 2015.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+1 HS
hetuck's picture

Understand, but the financial reality is they are turning their back on an extra $2-3M this year. Sure beats the threat of cutting sports. BTW, if you look for tickets to the Navy game, you can only find scattered singles. Those aren't old sailors coming back to fill M&T Stadium. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

CC's picture

I respectfully disagree.  I bought season tickets to md because I wanted to see the osu game.  Had the game been at FedEx or ravens stadium I would not have done this.

The atmosphere the schools have during these games is what brings fans back for ore home games.  It's also a disadvantage when they play away because the other team has more fans at the game.

Byrd stadium is 54k I believe which isn't exactly Evanston.

hit_the_couch's picture

Their helmets would be pretty slick if their state flag was as epic as Ohio's.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+1 HS
741's picture

That helmet is an abomination. Under Armor must be stopped.

-1 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

I dunno it has a certain hockey goaliesque feel to it as if XIBIT pimped their locker room

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+1 HS
Knarcisi's picture

Crab cakes and football. That's what Maryland does!

+4 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Imagine the tailgate possibilities at Maryland games! Crab Cakes and Chesapeake Bay eel on the grill!

 

 

Shangheyed's picture

WELCOME!   Like the UA Uniforms... will indeed add some color to the B1G!!

+1 HS
bucksfan92's picture

I am still holding out hope that some disaster will happen soon and prevent the Maryland/Rutgers thing from really happening.  These trash teams do NOT belong in the B1G.

-3 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Rutgers, Maryland find Big Ten move easier with partner

As athletic officials at Rutgers and Maryland jointly have received the cold shoulder reserved for outgoing members within their respective current conferences, the two soon-to-be Big Ten newcomers have found warm greetings on the other end of their two-way connections.

"We've already had a meeting where we sat down with both athletic departments," Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson told the Asbury Park Press, "and then there is a weekly phone conference call talking about the transition and what each school experiences and we've been able to collaborate with one another. It's made the transition easier."

...

Hermann, who has been part of nine conferences as a player, coach and administrator, said the cooperation between Rutgers and Maryland is characteristic of the Big Ten model.

"The Big Ten, of all the leagues I've been in, is by far the most collaborative league I've ever been around." she said. "You have more information-sharing across more constituencies that any other league in the nation."

+1 HS