November 19, 2012
by Todd Helmick

The University of Maryland's stunning move to the Big Ten Conference is sure to produce a tsunami effect once again in the college sports realignment world. No ripple effect, this one will be big. Plenty of news agencies are currently reporting on the financial matters as to the "why" this happened for the Big Ten and Maryland. Some politically correct spokespeople will try to spin this as an academic driven achievement. But make no mistake, this was a money decision no different from any of the conference team swaps that have occurred over the last five years. Maryland needs money, the Big Ten has more money to offer and in turn the Big Ten has got their mind on their money and their money on their mind. Here comes the new Big Ten TV contract just in time for 2017.

That big tsunami wave created from this tremor though...oh it's coming. Call them rumors if you will. Call them unsubstantiated by all means. But don't call them impossible or dismiss them lest ye face the same mistakes Big 12 administrative leaders made when the ACC pulled the rug out from under them behind closed doors with the part time addition of Notre Dame in all sports but football. Or the same exact mistake ACC Commissioner John Swofford made when he failed to see the Maryland move coming. The ACC bully just got punched in the nose. The typical reaction is to come back swinging. Hence, either UConn, Louisville, South Florida or all three are likely to be announced as full time ACC members before this article even reaches your monitor.

Several prominent sources are stating that the Big Ten is not done expanding. Even with the addition of Rutgers over the next few days (or hours), the Big Ten wants to become the first 16 - or even gasp 18 - football team mega conference and reap the Big Time dollars that accompany the deal. Watch out John Swofford, the Big Time is not done with you and your measly ESPN television contract that ranks dead last among the power conferences in revenue per team. These same sources have thrown out names that exist right in the heart of ACC's Tobacco Road. North Carolina is speculation one. Georgia Tech is even in the Big Brown Jug list. Don't believe it? Some people are doomed to repeat history. And don't count out those Jayhawks. Note to Big 12, you ain't in Kansas anymore. At least the market is open.

The most grand of them all will be the day Notre Dame finally caves in and becomes a Big Ten member possibly even before the ink dries on their new ACC deal. Just a couple of months ago this long time perfect marriage concept appeared all but annulled when the Irish accepted part time status as an ACC member. Most felt conference realignment issues would settle. As foretold at the time of the Irish ACC expansion, Swofford and his Atlantic Coastal brethren would reap what they sowed. There were many member institutions that were very unhappy with the deal that was offered to newcomer Notre Dame as the Washington Post reported, " According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, the ACC's addition of Notre Dame as a full member in all sports except for football irked top Maryland officials, because it broke with the conference's traditional requirement that all members must participate in all sports."

Many Golden Domers believed was just being anti-Notre Dame with the recent article championing the Irish joining the league as being a black eye for the ACC. Far from it. In fact, most sane people would have severely applauded Notre Dame to the ACC as a full-time member in all sports. But when you tell members that have been in the ACC for over 50 years that this is how we are going to treat a brand new member where you don't share your golden egg but we have to, you are going to tick people off. And rightfully so. Notre Dame doesn't give a damn about the ACC or the Big Ten. Notre Dame cares about No. 1, and we're not talking about being No. 1 in the BCS poll either. Big Ten money will talk and Big Dollar Notre Dame will once again listen.

North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Kansas or Notre Dame. The most likely scenario will have one or two of these mentioned teams joining the Big Ten within a span of two years. Count (the money) on it.

As for the rest of the ACC members, Florida State and Clemson were already perusing and entertaining other opportunities with the Big 12 and the SEC. Those other opportunity doors that appeared to be all but shut are now all but wide open once again. And if those two football money powers fall, the only two current ACC teams worth squat in the current college football television money market, the ACC will be buzzard meat. Dead as the Big East Swofford slowly picked apart and left for dead on the realignment highway.

What about that exorbitant $50 million dollar plus exit fee the ACC laid out with an iron fist for its current members before anyone could blink? Maryland will fight it, that is a given. Whether that means the Terps bargain out for a lower exit fee or fight this in court like West Virginia recently had to do before leaving the Big East, means everything for the ACC staying together. If that domino falls, and it likely will, the ACC is in big trouble.

The Big 12 better take notice as well. Sooner than later.

Find all these rumors amusing huh? Continued failure to realize that money drives these issues, not loyalties, can kill. Jim Boeheim knew it, Big East Commissioners Mike Tranghese and John Marinatto didn't. Who's next?

What the new Big Ten could like like:

Georgia Tech
Michigan State
North Carolina
Notre Dame
Penn State


Ohio State
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