It was reported yesterday smack in the middle of a college football Saturday that Maryland was in “serious negotiations” with the Big Ten about joining the conference with the possibility of Rutgers following suit. An announcement for the acquisitions is reportedly set for Monday, though there’s apparently strong opposition to the move among alumni.
If this latest round of realignment indeed comes to fruition, it would be one of the more shocking moves simply considering the timing of the whole thing. There were rumblings of a Maryland-to-Big Ten move earlier this week, but nothing that indicated it was anymore than that. Within the past several months, the ACC inked an exclusive deal with ESPN, added Notre Dame as a full member in all sports except football and hockey, locked down its Orange Bowl tie-in for college football’s new playoff (which also has tie-ins to the Big Ten, SEC and Notre Dame), and raised its exit fee to a whopping $50 million.
If that’s not proactively protecting your turf, then what is?
Nevertheless, it may not be enough to keep the Terps — deep in financial troubles, mind you — from bolting. In that case, the next question will undoubtedly be what happens to the likes of, say, Florida State and Notre Dame?
For the latter school, it means nothing — at least for now. Or so says university athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
“This doesn’t have any impact,” Swarbrick said Saturday. “It has absolutely zero impact. It wouldn’t change anything about our decision-making process. If we were going to engage in (an ACC move) again today, it wouldn’t change it at all.”
Notre Dame’s football partnership with the ACC includes five mandatory games against conference opponents every year. The Irish were also given a maximum of two Orange Bowl appearances over the next 12 years to keep them from being fully left out of the five leagues with contractual tie-ins to major bowls. If the ACC’s TV deal with ESPN is renegotiated, Notre Dame only earns a small, non-football portion of that revenue anyway.
What would change for Notre Dame if Maryland does in fact leave for the Big Ten? It wouldn’t appear much. Whether the Irish will ultimately change their mind though still remains to be seen.
(Hat tip: Baltimore Sun)