Maryland, B1G, and #VT4SEC

Maryland's defection to the Big Ten came as surprise. Both parties did a good job at keeping a lid on the negotiation. The first leak hit Twitter on Friday evening, the announcement was Monday afternoon. Also, Maryland? I think ACC fans respect the quality of their basketball program and their fans enthusiasm for it. On the other hand, Maryland football, the money maker in college athletics, perpetuates the notion that all ACC stadiums are at half capacity on Saturday's, and the Terps haven't been relevant in the ACC since before the 2004 expansion. It's a move driven by money on both ends. Maryland expands their television footprint east and could be worth, "as much as $200 million annually for the Big Ten in cable subscription fees," and, "Maryland stands to make nearly $100 million more in conference revenue by 2020 with its switch from the ACC to the Big Ten".

How does Maryland's move affect Virginia Tech? Losing Maryland isn't a catastrophic blow to the ACC. The two most likely schools to replace the Terps, Connecticut and Louisville, are national basketball powers. Louisville has a more distinguished football tradition, and is a current top-25 team, but Connecticut may bring more TVs.

It's not that the ACC lost Maryland, it's that they lost something. Everyone assumed that the league was solidified after:

  • The (partial) addition of Notre Dame;
  • The Orange Bowl extension and corresponding seat at the playoff table;
  • The exit fee increased to $50 million;

The wall was not high enough.

The floodgates might open if Maryland, who voted against raising the exit fee, pays anything less, through either a negotiation or legal decision, than the $50 million. Here's a quote from Florida State president Eric Barron.

"The ACC lawyers are absolutely convinced it's binding," Barron said. "If Maryland challenges it, I'll be watching closely to see if that works."

Last summer, a major realignment rumor was Florida State and Clemson were packing up and heading to the Big 12. Also, Marc Morehouse of The Cedar Rapids Gazette tweeted the following on Tuesday.

If the ACC destabilizes, and turns into Big East 2.0, then it's in Tech's best interest to find a new home in a stable, football first, conference. I've written about this twice before.

Last night, Jim Weaver was a guest on Tech Talk Live, and Roth asked him about the SEC.

Roth: Finally, and then we're going to go to other things, we just won an overtime game, it's UVa week, got an unbeaten basketball team, but I'm going to ask this anyway: Mike Slive and the SEC say they're going to start their own network. If they follow the Big Ten model and want to get East Coast schools, do you anticipate Virginia Tech being contacted for that league?

Weaver: Wow. That's hard one. I've really never thought about it, because the discussion has just come about, obviously in the last two or three days. I'm going to have to defer my answer on that, if I can, because I haven't really given it any thought. I think there could potentially be some interest, but I don't know how much if any.

Later that night, Weaver affirmed Tech's commitment to the ACC to David Teel, a prudent move.

I don't think Tech will leave the ACC unless more schools do, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

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Comments

Tech will stay with the ACC as long as it can. The administration always wanted to be here. When you think about geography and the types of schools in the ACC is makes sense. I wonder what the impact will really end up being to UMD. Sure they get more money, but now they also will have to spend more money trucking their non money making sports out to Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, etc. They've already cut 7 sports and I doubt they bring them back either.

Personally I think the SEC gives us the best chance from a football perspective, but what's the impact to our sports other than FB or BB? While people on here won't necessarily care, I think the admin takes the strongly into consideration.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

What other sports are better in the ACC? Maybe soccer or baseball, but even those are be close. We don't play lacrosse. The SEC doesn't have wrestling, but we would probably be able to join the EIWA, which is an even better conference than the ACC. Everything else is probably on par or better.

I didn't say anything about the sports being better, I was speaking purely of location, to which the administration has referenced a bunch. Travel for the non-revenue sports is easier in this footprint since you can bus to UVA, UNC, Duke, NC State, etc as opposed to the Big East days when you couldn't. Moving to the SEC prevents this as well. I don't share your opinion that the ACC is dead in the water yet, but needs to have something up its sleeve in order to stay relevant. I do agree that this is move from the B1G is purely a power play and a big FUCK YOU to the ACC for the ND move.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

For the sake OF al the other sports...

Conference affiliation today is all about financial positioning; nothing less. An SEC paycheck (and what VT can bring to the table) will absorb easily any burdens that would potentially displace all other athletics for the university, and no doubt pad other department coffers.

With all the silliness going on, no doubt another round of realignment rhetoric, shift and prognosticating this spring, then the rumors of Clemson, FSU, UVA and BC surfacing, acting in the best interests of the university, it behooves VT to consider SEC courtship.

Jump. Now, before the ability to explain away a "fiduciary responsibility to the school" -Dr. Steger" is lost with a lame duck conference and a more attractive and long-term financially beneficial offer (the SEC) has moved on.

"...sticks and stones may break my bones but I'm gonna kick you repeatedly in the balls Gardoki!"

I think the Big 10 is deliberately targeting the ACC to force Notre Dame to join their conference as a full member. I expect the Big 10's next new member will be Boston College. It makes sense from a TV market perspective, it's a traditional rivalry game for Notre Dame (that is typically televised nationally on NBC and therefore worth millions to them), and it's in the ACC. That move puts the ACC's postseason future in jeopardy. If they do this, I think ND will have no alternative but to join the Big 10 as team #16.

This isn't going to be the last move. The Big 12 is going back to 12 and will probably settle even higher than that. The SEC and Big 10 are probably going to 16. The ACC is dead in the water as far as football is concerned. VT needs to get out while it can. Alumni need to make themselves heard on this because the administration and staff treat the athletic department like their personal playground, and they are biased toward the ACC. They have already cost VT nearly a hundred million dollars by waiting this long to go to the SEC. The end game of all this is ownership of a playoff. If we end up on the outside of a football playoff controlled by four superconferences, the losses will be incalculable.

I don't want to wait for FSU to leave the conference. I want to do it now on our terms. If we are stuck in a crumbling conference, we lose all bargaining power and we could end up accepting something less than full, equal membership in a major conference. Or worse, we could end up languishing in a minor conference. It's easy to take our position in big time college football for granted but it is not guaranteed.

Personally I hope the SEC picks up Miami and VT. I hate Miami, but of the viable options it is probably financially the most valuable. I assume FSU is going to the Big 12.

Miami means nothing to to the SEC

They want untapped markets. UF has Florida, UGA has Georgia, and USC has South Carolina. That leaves Virginia and North Carolina as the two locations closest to it that the people counting the $$$ care about. While schools like Alabama and Ole Miss have a similar mentality to UVA, why would the SEC want the Hoos for any reason other than to add a W to most teams' record annually? That leaves us as the Virginia option. In NC, I don't think UNC and Duke would go to the SEC just because they pride themselves in academics (irony at its finest with UNC) too much to make that sacrifice. That leaves NC State. The SEC could also tap into Oklahoma with either OU or OkSt, but I think the Big12 will revive itself so they won't get them. If SEC wants money, NC State and us give it the best chance.

There's something to be said for having one of the biggest national brands in college football. Miami is extremely popular, and they get TV ratings. They will be a huge asset in contract negotiations, especially if SEC money revitalizes the program.

They may get ratings

But not new viewers. Just like the B1G, it's about number of TVs that will have the network. If the SEC is truly getting their own network like the rumors say, Having more people watch in Florida isn't worth as much as having the game shown across the state of Virginia for even just 1 person to watch.

I would pay the B1G to take BC off the ACC's hands

They've already taken one toxic asset, might as well take another.

BC is toxic to the ACC and valuable to the B1G. Why?

We are playing different games. They are playing the B10network game, where the value is determined by the number of cable subscriptions. The ACC is playing the regional rivalry strengthens the conference game.

It's a flip in the relation of geography. The new model values geographic diversity. The old model valued regionalism. Which is the ore sustainable? Think carefully before you answer, it's not easy.

actually...

it's a pretty easy answer ... the ore sustainable is the one that generates more $$$ .. and since most people don't travel to away games anyway, MOST conferences stand to make more money by way of TV ... the sec is the one conference that REALLY values regional ties to a point.

I still don't see what the B10 gets out of this

Is there a cable network in DC that doesn't already get the BTN? I've gotten it for years now as part of my standard cable package. Or is there anyone outside of Maryland on the eastern seaboard that will care more about the Big Ten now and get cable companies to pony up for the BTN?

I get the talk of footprints and markets, but I don't see how adding a mediocre football school with below average fanbase will add more eyeballs in this area beyond what they already got with their big name teams. I already watched the BTN at times because I like football and the Big Ten has some good, big name football teams that it's fun to root against. And the BTN was already in this area because there are a fuckton of Big Ten alumni all over the place. They graduate like fifty thousand people a year from Ohio State and they spread like locusts.

I dunno about the BTN's reach in NYC, so that may make some sense, but the idea that Maryland will bring more than they'll take away seems mind-boggling to me.

Likewise I don't see how the ACC really loses out unless others try to jump ship. Maryland does nothing to help the conference in TV contract negotiations that isn't already done by VT and UVA. A half a million Maryland fans doesn't move the needle at all, and they're just another pathetic #goacc football team at this point. Push Notre Dame for full membership or add Louisville or Connecticut. All would be a plus in markets, fans, football quality and basketball quality.

Hell, I get BTN in the ass-end of Texas. Makes my Mich alum friend happy ^_^

Achievement unlocked: All of the Fullers

I think you guys are all forgetting about the academic side of this too. I know football makes all the money and that's all that really matters, but our big research partners are in the ACC. The SEC's academics are an absolute joke and we wouldn't get as much research funding because of it. I think we should stay in the ACC until FSU bolts and then start looking around, but I'm not sure the ACC will die no matter what. There are 4 Carolina schools and 2 Virginia schools that will want to make it work, you can still build on that.

Rip his freaking head off!

Of note, UMD was an easy mark because of their ....

...athletic departments struggles. They didn't have another choice, they couldn't square their budget with ACC revenue.

VT is in the opposite position....now. We have a good job, for us to quit and take another job, one of two things must be true:
1. Our current employer is going out of business...or at least I stable and facing cutbacks..or
2. This new job pays really, really well.