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Maryland leaders will meet to discuss Big Ten

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Maryland leaders will meet to discuss Big Ten

The fate of the University of Maryland's conference affiliation appears to have reached a breaking point: On Monday the school's Board of Regents met and an announcement is expected to be made in a 3 p.m. press conference regarding their application for membership in the Big Ten conference. CSN will broadcast the announcement live. 

To join the Big Ten, Maryland would exit the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terrapins were a founding member of the ACC in 1953, and the move to the Big Ten is considered a shock to many.

Reports show that Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey and currently a member of the Big East conference, would join Maryland in the move to the Big Ten. 

Maryland's decision to leave the ACC and join the Big Ten centers mostly on money, and could be a precursor to another round of conference realignment throughout the country. For the Terps' athletic department, moving to the Big Ten would increase revenues thanks to the highly-profitable Big Ten Network, a cable channel run jointly by Fox Sports and the conference that is seen in more than 70 million homes.

Estimates show that under the ACC television deal, Maryland could expect around $17 million annually beginning next year. If Maryland joins the Big Ten, that number would jump to almost $25 million annually. 

Money is in short supply for the Terps athletic department, which had to cut seven varsity sports earlier this year and is currently running a mounting deficit that continues to grow. An increased shot of cash from the Big Ten could be just what Maryland needs.

The Big Ten will also provide an academic boost to Maryland with access to the Committee on Institutional Cooperation. The CIC, as it is commonly known, allows all of the Big Ten schools to collaborate on research, leverage funding, and has been linked to increased academic prowess and research dollars. CIC schools, which include all Big Ten schools and the University of Chicago, engaged in over $70 billion of research in 2010, according to the CIC annual report. Accessing such a broad and diverse academic network would advance Maryland in ways that would impact far beyond the basketball court or football field. 

Despite increased athletic revenues and academic opportunities, Maryland's move to the Big Ten has plenty of detractors.

For starters, to prevent team's from leaving the conference the ACC instituted a $50 million exit fee. The punitive exit fee was designed to stop the very move that Maryland is considering, and for a broke athletic department coming up with the $50 million may prove to be challenging. Refilling the coffers with the increased Big Ten television money may allow Maryland athletics to return to financial solvency, but the exit fee presents a tall hurdle on that path.

There are questions surrounding the increased exit fee. Some in the Maryland community believe the school could either negotiate a lower exit fee, or fight the figure in court. During discussions on instituting the $50 million exit fee, University of Maryland President Wallace Loh expressed that he did not think the fee would stand up in court. Loh subsequently voted against the fee, which passed anyway.

Beyond the exit fee, many Maryland fans and alumni are against the move. The Terps have played ACC competition for almost 60 years and generations of fans have enjoyed rivalries with Virginia, Duke and North Carolina State. Those matchups would likely be lost if Maryland moves to the Midwest-centric Big Ten conference.

It's clear why the Big Ten would want to add Maryland and Rutgers: increased television revenues and a presence along the densely populated East Coast. 

The Big Ten wants Maryland to access the Washington, D.C, and Baltimore television markets, collectively the eight-biggest market in the country. Rutgers brings even more television sets to the Big Ten by accessing the New York City market. By adding the Terps and Scarlet Knights, it's possible that the proceeds of the Big Ten Network would increase and bring even more money to College Park.

Beyond money, it's less clear why Maryland would want to make the Big Ten move, but there are reasons to consider. Despite animated fan bases, most Maryland fans and players never had a true rival in the fashion of Michigan-Ohio State or USC-UCLA. In fact, the team most Maryland fans love to hate, Duke, clearly has a bigger rival in North Carolina. 

If Maryland does join the Big Ten, the geographic proximity of Penn State could allow the Terps an instant rival. Maryland and Penn State played each other in football for decades, but the game fell apart almost 20 years ago. Penn State operates in a similar fashion as Maryland within the Big Ten without one obvious rival. The Terps in the Big Ten could alleviate the true rival issue for both schools, as they share a border and often recruit players from the same areas.

Another factor for Terp fans might be the newest round of ACC expansion. In 2014, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will join the conference, and the league's famed basketball schedule will expand. Every team in the conference has been assigned one designated rival to play twice each year in basketball and every year in football. Despite being a founding member of the conference and having nearly six decades of history with the schools in North Carolina and Virginia, Maryland was assigned expansion-team Pittsburgh as its rival. For many Maryland fans, this was an injustice.

There is no doubt that the football competition in the Big Ten will be much stiffer than in the ACC, and it would be hard to envision any immediate success for the Terps playing against teams like Nebraska, Michigan or Ohio State. But those teams have fans that travel, and it is easy to envision larger and more lively crowds in Bryd Stadium when a school like Penn State or Iowa comes to visit instead of current ACC foes like Wake Forest or Boston College. 

Much remains to be decided for the University of Maryland. First the Maryland brass would have to ask for membership in the Big Ten. Then current Big Ten universities would vote on extending Maryland an invitation to join the conference. But the pace and gravity of the negotiations suggest that this move is very much in motion.

Regardless what happens, fans will be upset. Decades of tradition will be thrown out the window, but the conference realignment freight train looks like it will impact schools that previously looked impenetrable. The fate of any conference is uncertain, but the Big Ten looks to be the most stable, the most profitable, and the conference with the foresight and fortitude to make bold moves.

Will Maryland make a bold move? That's the big question.

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No. 2 Maryland women top Minnesota to clinch 1st place tie in Big Ten

No. 2 Maryland women top Minnesota to clinch 1st place tie in Big Ten

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- First, there was the trophy presentation to Maryland for finishing in first place in the Big Ten.

Then, seniors Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had their jersey numbers lifted to the rafters of the arena in recognition of their outstanding play over the past four years.

"To have all that happen on the same day, you couldn't ask for a better way to end the regular season," Jones said after No. 2 Maryland romped past Minnesota 93-60 on Sunday.

Jones had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Walker-Kimbrough tallied 27 points and six assists. Seeing their numbers on banners hanging from the roof was special, but the duo took more delight in finishing no worse than tied atop the Big Ten standings.

"Being that the Big Ten regular season title was one of our goals, it's really cool to see everything play out," Walker-Kimbrough said. "This ride is far from over, but we're 1-for-1 right now."

Maryland has won at least a share of the conference regular-season title in each of its three years in the Big Ten. This week, the Terrapins (27-2, 15-1) will set out to win the conference tournament for the third year in a row.

Maryland will enter as the second seed as Ohio State defeated Rutgers later Sunday. Although the Terrapins will be recognized as the regular season co-champions, the Buckeyes are the No. 1 seed by virtue of their 98-87 victory over Maryland on Monday.

None of that took the luster off the trophy presentation and the banner-raising ceremony.

"Obviously, I'm extremely proud of our team, and to be able to send our seniors on such an incredible day," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I'm proud of the consistency factor, when you talk about back-to-back-to-back regular season titles.

Eager to rebound from its second loss of the season and send their seniors out in style, the Terps wasted little time taking control against the struggling Golden Gophers (14-15, 5-11).

"We knew we were coming into a hostile environment, no question," Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings said.

Maryland made 10 of 14 shots in the first quarter in building a 26-12 lead, upped the margin to 27 points with three minutes left in the first half and cruised to the finish.

"That first quarter, we dug quite a hole," Stollings said.

Kenisha Bell led Minnesota with 18 points. The Golden Gophers will enter the Big Ten tournament coming off three straight lopsided losses.

Jones scored 16 points before halftime and Walker-Kimbrough added 15 to stake Maryland to a 51-30 lead. Walker-Kimbrough had eight points and two assists in the third quarter, enabling the Terrapins to bring a 27-point cushion into the final period.

The fourth quarter was a prelude to the postgame ceremony for Jones -- now the third-leading rebounder in school history with 1,139 -- and Walker-Kimbrough, who's fifth on the Maryland career scoring list with 2,036 points.

Both left to a standing ovation with 3:46 left.

"These guys, they work so hard that they make it look so easy," Frese said. "The thing is, it's not easy."

BIG PICTURE

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers can't hang with the top teams in the Big Ten and finished with their worst regular-season record in the conference since 2010-11.

Maryland: The Terrapins can expect to drop in the rankings because of Monday's defeat, but this blowout shows they're still very capable of winning a third straight Big Ten tournament and going deep in the NCAA tournament.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: Opens Big Ten tournament play on Thursday as the 10th seed. "We're going to go in with the idea it's 0-0, let's try to get on a run," Stollings said.

Maryland: Begins Big Ten tournament play on Friday.

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL IS THE 2-SEED IN THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT

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Maryland loses to Minnesota in fourth loss of past six games

Maryland loses to Minnesota in fourth loss of past six games

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Dupree McBrayer scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, and Minnesota beat struggling No. 24 Maryland 89-75 on Wednesday night for its sixth straight victory.

The Golden Gophers (21-7, 9-6 Big Ten) are undefeated since losing to Maryland (22-6, 10-5) on Jan. 28. It was Minnesota's third consecutive road win, its longest run in the conference since 1989-90.

Down 53-50, the Gophers got 12 points from McBrayer in a 20-7 run that broke open a game that had gone back and forth to that point.

Nate Mason scored 17 points and Akeem Springs added 16 for Minnesota, which committed only six turnovers -- two after halftime.

Maryland standout guard Melo Trimble went 4 for 12 from the field and the Terrapins went 7 for 27 beyond the arc in losing for the fourth time in six games. Backup center Ivan Bender scored a career-high 15 points for Maryland and Trimble and Anthony Cowan each had 11.

Maryland had a three-point lead when freshman Justin Jackson missed a 3-pointer that would have made it 56-50.

McBrayer drilled a 3 on the other end, then added two field goals before Eric Curry scored in the lane to make it 59-53 with 10:47 remaining.

Just when it seemed as if the game was getting away from Maryland, Trimble connected from long range to spark a 7-2 surge that got the Terrapins within a point.

That would be as close as Maryland would get.

A jumper by McBrayer, four straight points by Jordan Murphy and a 3 by McBrayer made it 70-60 with 6:24 remaining.

A first half that featured four ties and four lead changes ended with the Terrapins in front 35-34.

After Maryland used a 10-0 run to take a 21-17 lead, the Gophers rattled off 10 straight points to move back in front. It was 29-23 before a dunk by L.G. Gill ignited another 10-point spree for the Terps.

Bender went 6 for 8 to score 12 points, surpassing his career high of 10. Trimble had five assists to offset his 1-for-7 shooting.