MARYLAND MAKES MOVE; RUTGERS NEXT TO JUMP
Choosing to look toward the future rather than honor the past, Maryland joined the Big Ten on Monday, bolting from the Atlantic Coast Conference in a move driven by the school's budget woes.
Maryland was a charter member of the ACC, which was founded in 1953. Tradition and history, however, were not as important to school President Wallace D. Loh as the opportunity to be linked with the prosperous Big Ten.
Somebody has to pay the bills," Loh said. I want to leave a legacy for decade to come, long after Im gone, that no president is going to wonder if Maryland athletics as we know it is going to survive.
Loh and other school officials involved in the decision decided that the potential money to be made in the Big Ten was more significant than the $50 million exit fee and the tradition associated with belonging to the same conference for 59 years. Maryland cut seven sports programs earlier this year, and Loh said the shift to the Big Ten could provide enough of a windfall to restore some of those sports.
Maryland will become the southernmost member of the Big Ten starting in July 2014. Rutgers is expected follow suit Tuesday, splitting from the Big East and making it an even 14 schools in the Big Ten.
BOISE STATE DENYING CONTACT WITH MOUNTAIN WEST
The loss of Rutgers and potential future Big East defections could impact the leagues television negotiations. Boise State, San Diego State and former Mountain West member BYU have talked with counterparts in the league about what to do next, ESPN and others reported.
Boise State and fellow Mountain West member San Diego State are scheduled to join the Big East on July 1. BYU left the league in 2011 for football independence.
A lot of people are talking to a lot of folks. ... Athletic directors talk, the coaches talk, their presidents talk, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson told USA Today. I think everybody is trying to monitor as best they can. Todays announcement came very quickly. Everyone is trying to assimilate it. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I would think maybe some of the logical reasons to have left the Mountain West no longer apply.
Boise State President Bob Kustra issued a short statement late Monday night on conference realignment.
In following up on my statement from earlier this evening and because of a report that Boise State has been talking with the Mountain West, I want to make it clear that Boise State has had no discussions with the Mountain West Conference in the past couple of weeks, Kustra said. We are in constant communication with presidents and athletic directors of the Big East and we intend to strengthen our the conference by adding members who can contribute to a strong conference.
SAN DIEGO STATE SAYS ITS MOVING FORWARD WITH BIG EAST
San Diego State Athletic Director Jim Sterk told the San Diego Union-Tribune that there has been no contact with the Mountain West.
I have not spoken to the (Mountain West) commissioner since May, and theres been no communication with them, Sterk told the newspaper. Our president has just been on a call with Boise State, and they havent had any communication with the Mountain West either, and the president at BYU hasnt had communications with them either.
Sterk said the Big East could regroup if it lost Rutgers and, potentially, Connecticut.
Its not great to lose UConn or Rutgers, but if that happens, it gives us an opportunity to have less travel in the Western division, Sterk told the paper. We pick up someone further west, and were in better shape than yesterdays Big East.
When asked if he saw any merits in reopening talks with the Mountain West, Sterk told the Union-Tribunte, Not at this point.
BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall told reporters after practice Monday that he hadnt heard anything about returning to the Mountain West. I dont know anything about it, he said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Statesman wire reports