The Maryland Terrapins were criticized by some of their fans and the ACC was even announced as winners of the conference realignment right here at SBNation with the addition of the Louisville Cardinals. Well not so fast. After a few years are members in the ACC getting worried? It looks like it, or at least, it should look like it.
I’ll say this. Several admins at ACC schools are worried that the Power 5 is really a Power 4 and they’re on the outside. This is a big deal— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 30, 2015
The Terrapins are nice and secure where they are in the Big Ten, especially when you consider the fact that the school is about to earn more money than they ever have before. That's before realizing that with the Big Ten being on the open market for a new national television deal in 2016, ESPN and Fox Sports are expected to start a bidding war in attempt to obtain the rights to showcase the Big Ten. With a new national television deal and the Big Ten Network increasing it's market reach, that means more television revenue for the Big Ten schools.
With the uptick in income for the conference going forward, Awful Announcing reported that pay outs for each full-time Big Ten member could reach over 40 million dollars. At the same time, the ACC is looking for a ACC Network TV contract with ESPN. The conference is five steps behind the Big Ten, SEC and PAC 12 when it comes to television contracts, especially as they struggle to get their own network fully rolling while three of the other power five conferences have already established their own.
And right now the launch of the ACC network ,which was originally expected to take place in 2017, is currently being placed on hold by ESPN according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The problem with the ACC is they are not going to come first between themselves and the Big Ten in regards to a television deal with ESPN.
Combine that with the fact that ESPN is in the middle of laying off countless quality employees and making numerous cuts across the entire network, it's apparent that ESPN is reevaluating how they spend their money. With the network losing 3.2 million subscribers recently, according to the Wall Street Journal, ESPN has to find a way to cancel out those losses somehow. The reality is sinking even more money into the ACC might not be financially feasible, putting the conference in a major bind.
Things seem to be staying status quo in the ACC while the Big Ten just continues to move along.
While some people were concerned about Maryland being an outsider in the Big Ten, the school saw the forest from the trees and knew that the ACC is in real danger of being a sinking ship. One could argue that Maryland was an outsider in the ACC anyways with the way things tend to revolve around the North Carolina schools in the conference. The financial struggles Maryland were dealing with internally in the ACC made the move to the Big Ten a lot easier as well.
Countless ACC fans continue to prop up Louisville as an addition to the conference, while also claiming that Maryland's athletic program is garbage. Talk about sour grapes. Does Louisville have a better football program than Maryland does right now? Yes they do. Does Lousiville have a better basketball program than Maryland does right now? No, they don't, and things recently have gotten real bad with the current scandal looming around Louisville's basketball program right now (but that is another story for another day).
A decent amount of people still don't understand that while your athletic program may be good, that isn't the end all when it comes to conference realignment. Which is why Big Ten conference members approved to bring Maryland and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights over, thanks to the markets both schools reside in:
- The Baltimore/Washington D.C. metro area (fourth largest in the country)
- The New York/New Jersey metro area (largest in the country)
Maryland obviously made the right move to switch conferences, even if the exit fee situation was a bit frustrating for the school. Now Maryland doesn't have to deal with the ACC's grant of rights (which is a disaster for the schools involved) and they can now focus on improving their athletic program with a higher standard from the players to the president. The move also proved that money matters more than tradition. It isn't always easy in the streets of conference realignment, with many teams facing new hardships thanks to all of the moving parts. Maryland, though, is one of the few programs that has greatly benefited from their conference swap.