Don’t mess with your antenna, your reception is just fine. What is currently blurred is the ties that historically bound collegiate athletics programs together.
However, both money and national prestige have increasingly become two issues in which schools must show practically infinite progress. Thus, no longer are schools tied to their historically relevant rivals or their geographically natural enemies.
The Big Ten conference, led by commissioner Jim Devine, has a superconference on the brain. Devine, through the Big Ten Network, already has by far the most advertising revenue coming in, but has found ways to bring in ever more. Generally speaking, Maryland and Rutgers would not be considered traditional Big Ten schools — not playing anywhere near the Midwest, of course — but now that each will bring in a different and massive television market, the programs each make a “perfect fit” to join the league. Maryland brings the Washington DC market and Rutgers, so the Big Ten is obviously hoping, brings the New York market.
All eyes have been on Maryland since the school’s decision to go for the gold and the Big Ten Network’s advertising dollars.
Specifically, the eyes of Clemson, Florida State, Duke and North Carolina.
After the ACC added Notre Dame in all sports except football, members of each school in the conference voted on whether or not to raise the league exit fee from $20 million to roughly $50 million, an obviously massive increase.
Florida State and Maryland were the only two schools to vote against the proposed hike in the fee, which subsequently passed.
Maryland’s budget for its entire athletic program in 2011 was just over a reported $57 million. The $50 million fee was intended to keep schools from leaving, and now in an effort to leave Maryland is trying to get out of paying the fee.
In response, the ACC has officially filed a lawsuit against the Terrapins.
“There is the expectation,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford, “that Maryland will fulfill its exit fee obligation.”
Thus, if Maryland, in a court of law, can prove the exit fee raise to have been outside the realm of the ACC’s power originally, the other four schools looking on may just be intrigued enough to take the money elsewhere.
Where? Try either the SEC and the Big Ten of course, both currently sitting pretty at a robust 14 schools and looking for more.
Or perhaps somewhere else?
According to the Sporting News, Clemson and Florida State would have an increased marketing advantage as members of the Big 12, helping that conference expand its footprint.
“We’d be absolutely foolish to not watch Maryland,” one FSU official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Sporting News. “If or when they get out of (the $50 million buyout), everything changes. It’s almost like free agency.”
The Tigers and Seminoles have long been rumored to be looking for dollars and prestige and all the rest elsewhere, but the two others, Duke and North Carolina, come as a bit of a surprise.
The two schools would be massive hauls, both academically and athletically. Whereas the Big Ten could more use the athletics, the SEC would love to have those test scores to brag about.
Sources close to the situation have stated that the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, located only eight miles apart from one another, will move to either conference as a package deal.
Both programs have been talking to the SEC “for the last three years” even, and that the choice between them and the Big Ten might be coming as soon as the lawsuit runs its course.
If Maryland gets out from under what was supposed to have been binding legal documents, the ACC may very well be dead to rights, despite having recently added Louisville to fill the void left by the Terps.
One may notice we made no mention of the Big East. In a few years, there may be no reason too.
Stay tuned, because both of arguably the nation’s most historic basketball programs may just be on the move.
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