Rick Snider: Maryland's move to Big Ten is a Loh down dirty shame

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Photo - Patrick Semansky/AP
Maryland president Wallace Loh admitted Monday that the university's move from the ACC to the Big Ten was mostly about money.
Patrick Semansky/AP Maryland president Wallace Loh admitted Monday that the university's move from the ACC to the Big Ten was mostly about money.
Sports,College,Rick Snider

Maryland athletics was sold Monday.

The Terrapins are departing the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014. Football can hope for .500 seasons -- at best. Basketball trades rivalries forged with Duke and North Carolina over 59 years for future epic battles against Iowa and Purdue. Lacrosse becomes a free agent with a lot of open dates.

At least university president Wallace Loh admitted leaving the ACC was largely about money -- maybe another $8 million annually to start. He tried to claim it also was about academic alliances. No one believes that. Loh looked for some goodwill by saying some of the seven recently cut teams will be reinstated without offering specifics. Who cares? This isn't about the water polo team.

This is a debate about the past and future, and Loh, after two whole years on the College Park campus, wasn't going to look back after this money grab.

"This enables us to truly guarantee the financial sustainability for a long, long, long time," Loh said Monday.

Good because it will be a long, long, long time before fans accept the move.

Athletic director Kevin Anderson and Loh repeatedly sympathized with fans outraged that Maryland is leaving the conference. They even said they will cherish the memories and mourn the loss of traditional rivalries. Excuse me, but didn't these guys show up in 2010? They would be taking Econ 301 if they were students.

This is what happens when outsiders are hired to run things. They don't care what locals want. Indeed, Loh defended the secrecy about the decision by saying the public's input shouldn't be a factor.

The extra money already seems spent. While Anderson said, "We have done so much with so little for so long," he's not getting measurably more in this deal. Loh already said some additional revenues will be siphoned to the general fund. Then there's the overwhelming stadium debt to be paid. Given the additional travel expenses of heading to the Midwest, basketball coach Mark Turgeon will be lucky to get some new basketballs.

Alumni love the ACC. At least, the old ACC. Maybe Maryland's lucky to be first out. Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech are lusting after the SEC. One day, the ACC will be filled with more newcomers than founding fathers. Tradition counts for nothing when it comes to counting money.

Loh seemed a bit bruised after a 50-minute news conference. He was forced to defend the decision just like his coaches defend their teams after a bad loss.

"Somebody has to pay the bills," Loh finally stammered. "What is at issue is the long-term viability for Maryland athletics."

As for the $50 million exit fee that was supposed to be the poison pill for leaving the conference, Loh said he has written many legal papers on such subjects. He wants a private discussion with league officials that probably will end with "See you in court."

After all, Loh's all about the money.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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