It’s a tumultuous period for big-time college athletics. The conferences that have long defined Division 1 sports are under siege, some being re-constituted by the month. The highbrow SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC have been busy annexing schools outside their traditional geographies, fueled by the bonanza of cable TV payouts. And the Big East, just a few years ago the most powerful basketball conference, is now all but gone, functioning as little more than a spare parts store for the big dogs.
Even with all the developments, it was noteworthy last month when the University of Maryland, a charter member of the prestigious ACC, bolted for the Big Ten. It’s one thing for schools from lesser conferences and the fading Big East to make a move up, but Maryland from the storied ACC? The news especially hit home with me, a resident of Big Ten headquarters Chicago, with a son at Big Ten charter UW Madison, and having grown up in Maryland, with friends and relatives from UM.
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