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.
Boston College and Virginia could be next.— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) November 20, 2012
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.