Maryland Big Ten: Student government endorses conference switch

November 19, 2012

With the University of Maryland Board of Regents expected to address a potential Big Ten move during a private Monday morning meeting in Baltimore, Maryland’s Student Government Association Executive Board released an open letter late Sunday night, penned in support of joining the Big Ten.

The letter, addressed to University President Wallace Loh, Chancellor William Kirwan and the Board of Regents, is copied in full below: 

President Loh, Chancellor Kirwan, and USM Board of Regents:

As the Executive Board of the Student Government Association, it has come to our attention that the University is considering moving from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to the Big Ten Conference. While student sentiment is by no means unanimous on this issue, we believe it would be in the best interests of the undergraduate student body for the University of Maryland, College Park to become a member of the Big Ten. Although we mourn the traditions that would inevitably be lost, joining the Big Ten would fundamentally transform our university for the better.

To begin, our Athletic Department is in a precarious financial situation. A move to the Big Ten would provide the University with a sorely needed increase in revenue. Furthermore, the University of Maryland, College Park would enter the prestigious Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which includes all of the members of the Big Ten as well as the University of Chicago. Several academic benefits come with membership in the CIC, ranging from collaboration and cooperation that helps member schools obtain federal grants, to exchanges of member resources and scholars. This would increase the University’s stature as a Research I institution, further bolstering our academic reputation nationally and globally. Finally, with recent speculation that calls into question that future viability of the ACC, the Big Ten would provide Maryland with stability in the years to come.

While the proposed move would provide the University of Maryland, College Park with added security, it comes with some concerns. With the potential influx of revenue, the decision we are very concerned about is how the additional funds would be reinvested into the University. In the aftermath of seven athletic teams being cut due to budget constrains, moving to the Big Ten may provide the University with the opportunity to bring these teams back. It is also important to remember that cornerstone programs of Maryland Athletics would be significantly altered, leaving some at a competitive disadvantage, some without leagues to play in, and others without familiar rivals to play against; these issues must be addressed. If the University of Maryland, College Park moves to the Big Ten, it would need to take the time to work with its students to ensure that this change does not revolve solely around football or even athletics, but all facets of the University.

As we move forward, we ask that decisions that affect the entire University community be dealt with in a more transparent manner. Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to working with you in the weeks and months ahead as we continue our productive partnership to better our university.

Sincerely,

The SGA Executive Board

 
Much more to come today. Here are links to other Maryland stories:
 
Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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