The problem is, we don’t know.
There was no impact study, no open discussion. At the state’s largest public institution of higher learning, there was no genuine process of deliberation. Three educational careerists — University President Wallace Loh, Athletic Director Kevin Anderson and Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan — went into a star chamber, played God and mocked self-governance.
“This is a real bad omen for college sports,” Tom McMillen said.
The former all-American off Lefty Driesell’s early 1970s Terrapins teams, who became a Rhodes Scholar and a three-time Democratic congressman, was apparently the lone voice of dissent among the Board of Regents on Monday, when the vote was held to move to the Big Ten.
McMillen didn’t oppose the move as much as the process, which he called “terrible.”
“When there is no time for deliberation, when commissioners flush with dollars from their conference are dictating to college presidents — when student-athletes and coaches aren’t even brought into the conversation and traditions are thrown away like dirty laundry — there is a recipe for something all right,” he said. “In my view, how this was handled will have long-term detrimental effects on college sports.
“I’m not saying we shouldn’t do this. I’m saying they wanted us two years ago. They will want us in two more years. To totally disregard the athletes and have this crammed down everyone’s throat over a weekend is just awful.
“This is the kind of thing that can be the tipping point for uncompensated athletes in money-making sports, who are left without any say and are basically becoming indentured servants to big schools.”
More insulting was the news conference announcing the decision, where Loh and Kirwan actually leaned hard on the reasoning that leaving the ACC would strengthen Maryland academically, because who wouldn’t want to be part of that Big Ten’s swell consortium of research schools?
Stop already. Maryland didn’t partner with Stanford, Harvard and M.I.T. on deficit-reduction education.
There was this unbecoming defiance from Loh and the others during the news conference. The university president spoke passionately about the pain of having to tell athletes in tennis and swimming and diving — three of the seven sports that Maryland cut for budgetary reasons last year — that the university no longer could fund their programs. The move to the Big Ten, he assured, would result in the restitution of those sports and their scholarships.