Maryland is officially a Big Ten school. That felt as weird to type as it was to say, and although we have had almost two years to process the move, the move will take time for the Maryland faithful to adjust to.
In 1953, seven universities came together to form the ACC: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest. Today, fourteen teams make up the conference as South Carolina and now Maryland have left. Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia Tech have joined.
As Maryland began their farewell tour to each ACC member in each sport this season, the everlasting “ACC” chants made us fans eager for the Big Ten so the Maryland faithful did not have to listen to the diehard fans of the ACC. But when Maryland basketball ended their season by beating fifth-ranked rival Virginia on their home floor, Maryland fans had celebrated a memorable 61 years in the ACC that taught the school everything it knows.
But as other schools have done, such as West Virginia, Texas A&M and Missouri, tradition sadly is not everything. It’s just like your parents tell you: friends come and go, but family stays the same. Regardless of Maryland’s conference affiliation, there is no denying the Maryland faithful from watching their beloved Terps take on their opponent in Byrd Stadium, or watching Maryland basketball through their roller coaster games at times. It doesn’t matter who Maryland plays because true Maryland fans will always watch.
With that said, the Big Ten provides better academics, athletics and opens Maryland to more markets and opportunities. The seven programs that were cut in 2012 will eventually be able to start again due to the increased revenue from the Big Ten. More importantly, the Big Ten allows Maryland to go back to its original Maryland roots. It was clear that the ACC did not value tradition once they didn’t schedule Duke at Maryland for the first time in fifty years. It was clear that Maryland had no place when Pittsburgh, not Virginia, was “scheduled” to become Maryland’s next rival. So Maryland pulled a LeBron and took their talents elsewhere.
Tradition is something that is not forced upon people. It’s something that takes time and consistency for it to develop.
Is a Maryland-Northwestern matchup going to ignite the same fuel that Maryland-NC State does? Of course not, but as time progresses, so will the rivalries. So will your eventual hatred of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and so will your distaste for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo’s constant winning.
For now, savor the moment and reminisce over the memories. Remember Coach K’s comments about Maryland’s lack of “tradition,” the poor scheduling, and the $52 million dollar lawsuit between Maryland and the ACC.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Big Ten!