In addition to the question of how Maryland and Rutgers would pay the ACC’s exit fee to join the conference, there’s the question of what impact a move would have on the Big Ten.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports put together a pretty nice overview of Maryland and Rutgers’ potential move to the Big Ten, highlighting why it’s a risky move for the midwest conference and did give a nod to what the move would do for men’s basketball in the conference.
The league would also add a tremendous basketball program at Maryland, a growing one at Rutgers and recruiting access to what is arguably the most talent-rich corridor in the country from New York to D.C. But when did basketball matter on this scale? And since when did the Big Ten, which currently boasts five ranked teams, including three of the top five, need help in hoops?
And while there are also terrific academics and a major population of regular students who may be more inclined to head to the Midwest, this will be seen through a football prism…The ACC offered generations of rivalries, was rooted in basketball – the sport that matters most with alums – and provided tremendous exposure to potential students up and down the East Coast.
In the end, though, the Big Ten brand might be too much to turn down. Even at $50 million, which will take years to recoup.
Obviously, if men’s basketball doesn’t matter on this scale as a revenue sport for most schools in the Big Ten, women’s basketball isn’t going to be part of this discussion. But it should be quite clear that this move vastly improves Big Ten women’s basketball and might be particularly interesting for long-standing member Michigan: new coach Kim Barnes-Arico is obviously quite familiar with the New York-New Jersey recruiting scene and it might give her a bit of an edge compared to her new peers as the program grows.