And so the college realignment carousel continues to spin.
With the news that the University of Maryland leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers University leaving the Big East for the Big Ten-plus-two, the conference grows to 14 teams.
The Big Ten-plus-four? The Big 14?
Regardless of how you label it, the whole move of both schools continues the disturbing trend of schools moving from their traditional regions to places that make absolutely no sense for them to be in.
And the whole reason for all these realignments and broken rivalries is money, and that scares me.
Having teams go from one conference to another is all about the almighty dollar, and how many a school can get from being somewhere else, even if it means the teams at their school have to go halfway across the continent to play games (See San Diego State and Boise State in the Big East).
Most schools won’t come right out and say it, but that’s the motivating factor. At least Maryland president Wallace Loh admitted as much when his school’s move was announced Monday.
“We will be able to insure the financial sustainability of Maryland athletics for decades to come,” he told a news conference.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson also said as much.
“No future Maryland athletic director will ever have to look in young men’s and young women’s eyes and say you can’t play here anymore,” he said, noting that the Terrapins had to cut seven sports teams in July.
Of course, the Big Ten-plus-two/four will also benefit from having East Coast teams in the fold, as there will be more revenue coming from the Boston and New Jersey markets. Those are huge money markets, so it makes sense for the bottom line.
It will also make sense for the two new universities, as there are estimates that each could get $35 million from the conference, which would double the $17 million Maryland would get from the ACC.
But other than the money, there’s no reason for Maryland and Rutgers to move from their current conferences. If it’s about football, both the ACC and Big East have automatic bids in the BCS this year and next, so that’s out.
Maryland has been a top-tier men’s basketball team, but other than that, all the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights are doing is losing to bigger-name teams.
And geographically it doesn’t make sense to have two schools from the East Coast when all the other schools are in the Midwest. That’s like putting an NFL football team in London.
Alas, it’s all about money, and who can give them more of it.
So we’ll see the realignment carousel continue to spin until there is no more reason for schools to jump ship. What will that reason be? Everyone getting the same amount of money.
Yeah, like that will ever happen.