Residents react to University of Maryland leaving the ACC for the Big Ten
From left, Chris Maust, John Ralston Sr. and Maurice Booth shared their thoughts about the University of Maryland leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten Conference. (Photos by Caleb Calhoun / November 26, 2012)
“I think it’s idiotic,” Gerald Raikes, 45, of Hagerstown said Monday. “I know they’re doing it for money, but students like to win, and I don’t see Maryland ever winning the Big Ten in football.”
Robb Fountain, 32, of Hagerstown, said that the move would be good for the school and the conference.
“It’ll bring more competition to the Big Ten in the long run,” he said. “Maybe Maryland will now step it up a bit in football.”
Raikes, who acknowledged that the school could remain competitive in basketball, said that with the conference realignment occurring over the past four years, the NCAA needs to step in and perhaps consider dissolving the conferences.
“They need to restructure the BCS, and the NCAA could schedule more competitive games,” he said. “They’d need to break it into some kind of divisions, though.”
Fountain added that getting rid of the conferences would be good for schools in less prestigious conferences.
“It might help recruiting with those schools,” he said. “There’s a huge variance of conferences as far as skills of teams.”
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh has talked about the financial advantages of joining the Big Ten. The conference projects the school will make nearly $100 million more in conference revenue by 2020, according to published reports.
Chris Maust, 44, of Smithsburg, said he does not think Maryland will be able to compete in the Big Ten. He also said that he thinks the NCAA should keep conferences.
“It keeps things competitive in completely different sections of the country,” he said. “Moving to the Big Ten could be a bonus for Maryland, and in basketball they could compete, but football is the major money maker.”
Maryland is a charter member of the ACC, which was founded in 1953. For many area residents, leaving the conference means losing traditional rivalry games.
John Ralston Jr., 43, of Frostburg, Md., said he has grown up a Maryland fan and does not support the move.
“I won’t be following the ACC like I used to, and Maryland will be getting pounded every week in football,” he said. “I think it’s a big mistake.”
His father, John Ralston Sr., 65, used West Virginia’s football team as an example of how changing conferences can hurt a team.
“West Virginia sure didn’t make a good showing in the Big 12 after leaving the Big East,” he said. “Maryland is not going to be able to compete with Big Ten teams.”
The Mountaineers are 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12 after starting the season 5-0.
With the loss of traditional rivalries in the ACC, there is speculation of a possible rivalry between Maryland and Penn State or Maryland and Rutgers developing with the move to the Big Ten.
The school is expected to move to the Big Ten in 2014 but faces a $50 million buyout to leave the ACC, which it expects to negotiate to a lower amount, according to published reports.