When I grew up, it was the Big Ten proper. At the time, the last team to join the conference was Michigan State back in 1950. When Penn State joined the conference in 1990 it was a bit of a culture shock accompanied by a bit of snickering. Sure their football team was great but did they encompass the Big Ten? Over time, the detractors got over their skepticism.
Well in a matter of a few years, three teams will most likely have joined the Big Ten conference. First Nebraska who is now getting their feet wet in the 2012-2013 season. Now, it has been announced in the past week that University of Maryland and Rutgers University will be joining our conference as of the 2014-2015 season.
What people are saying about the recent expansion:
"Today is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland. Membership in the Big Ten Conference is in the strategic interest of the University of Maryland. It will not only ensure the financial vitality of Maryland Athletics for decades to come, but the extensive opportunities in the CIC for collaborations with our peer AAU and flagship universities in education, research, and innovation will boost the University of Maryland’s ascendancy in academic excellence."
University of Maryland President Dr Wallace D. Loh
“Well, the "why” in regards to Maryland’s decision can be answered in one word – money. The school’s athletic program is so financially strapped that it had to cut seven of its sports teams in July. Reports have pointed to declining revenue for basketball and football, plus a $50.8 million expansion in 2006 of the football team’s Byrd Stadium as the sources of Maryland’s financial woes.”
Sammy Batten of the Fayetteville Observer
"The Big Ten includes America’s most highly regarded academic institutions, known for both their athletic success and academic achievement. This is exactly the right conference for Rutgers. Our university is one of the nation’s leading research universities and our student-athletes excel in the classroom and on the playing field."
Rutgers President Robert Barchi
“Maryland cut seven varsity sports programs in July due to underfunding and Rutgers is making the intelligent decision to jump ship while there’s still a landing spot out of the Big East.
But don’t get it twisted, the Big Ten is using Maryland and Rutgers just as much (if not more so) to increase its ever-expanding revenue.”
Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report
It will be interesting to see how this will impact non-revenue sports like baseball, softball etc. The mass media, of course, tend to look upon these stories from a football/men’s basketball perspective. One practical, logistical impact this will have is the cost and time in travel for conference games. The Big Ten is no longer be considered a Midwestern conference.
I honestly wasn’t too surprised by the inclusion of Rutgers University. Rumors of the Scarlet Knights were swirling the last time when the Nebraska Cornhuskers were ultimately chosen. I do have to admit being a little taken aback by the choice of the Terrapins.
Call me old fashioned but I would have liked to have seen Mizzou tabbed. I don’t know the politics or economics behind the dynamics of that relationship but their rivalries and geographic location make them a good choice. Who knows? That may be a possibility.. plenty of sport pundits feel that Jim Delany of the Big Ten isn’t done yet.