Letter to the Editor

Maryland’s move to the Big Ten

John Feinstein [“For Maryland, it’s power in numbers,” Sports, Nov. 19] was correct that Maryland’s move to the Big Ten makes sense. Put simply: The revenue opportunity, especially for an athletics department already struggling financially, is just too good to forgo.

However, this move, in addition to Rutgers joining the Big Ten, creates larger implications for Maryland’s soon-to-be former conference: the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Just months after officially welcoming Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh, the ACC now faces the Big Ten invading again the prized mid-Atlantic media market. Coupled with the likelihood that Clemson University and Florida State University may depart, the ACC needs a proactive game plan: It must invite the University of Connecticut, University of Louisville and University of South Florida.

These acquisitions would give the ACC 16 full-time members post-Maryland (or a balanced 14 following the losses of Clemson and Florida State), maintain the conference’s Florida presence, add a profitable Louisville athletics program and counter the Big Ten’s New York expansion by adding Connecticut. Also don’t forget: Notre Dame will be an ACC basketball member with a guaranteed five football games per season against ACC schools.

In the current game of NCAA Division I athletics chess, the ACC’s next move should not require much thought.

Michael Kaplun, Arlington

I was born in 1953, the year Maryland and six other schools formed the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 1962, my parents moved from Virginia to University Park. The first person I made friends with in the neighborhood was Munroe Cobey, whose father, Bill, was the University of Maryland’s athletic director.

I had a wonderful childhood attending many Maryland sporting events at Byrd Stadium, Cole Field House and Shipley Field. I moved back to Virginia in the mid-1970s and cheered for my daughters’ college teams, but I always had a soft spot for the Terrapins.

This weekend my friend of 50 years and other friends from University Park are getting together for a reunion in Chapel Hill to see the Maryland-North Carolina football game. It will be the first time in my life that I will be cheering “Go Tar Heels.”

Joe Lemon, Lynchburg

It is hard to imagine a more cynical justification for Maryland’s move to the Big Ten than that John Feinstein provided. Evidently, he believes that Maryland has no hope of filling the seats in Byrd Stadium by winning football games — and by doing so becoming profitable — so it might as well move its losing franchise to the Big Ten where its mediocrity has a higher price tag.

As solace to those who bemoan sacrificing tradition for the bottom line, he offers his view that Maryland lacks real tradition anyway, that is, tradition as John Feinstein defines it.

Peter S. Bernard, Silver Spring

The writer is a professor at the University of Maryland at College Park.

 
Read what others are saying