COLLEGE PARK, Md. —
But he had no problem explaining why the Big Ten would be interested in stretching its boundaries from the Midwest.
“We realize that all of the major conferences are slightly outside of their footprint,” Delany said. “We believe that the association is one that will benefit both of us.”
For Maryland, the move was not entirely based on athletics. Maryland will join the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of world-class research institutions.
“For me and for the board and for the faculty and for the students, the academic component is very, very important,” Loh said. “I would not have made this kind of deal if it was a conference that did not have this consortium.”
But money was really the driving force.
“Somebody has to pay the bills,” Loh said. “I want to leave a legacy for decade to come, long after I’m gone, that no president is going to wonder if Maryland athletics as we know it is going to survive.”
Besides, Loh noted, the ACC isn’t exactly the cozy little group it was 59 years ago. Notre Dame was recently added to the conference, though it will remain a football independent and play five games against ACC teams.
“The world of the ACC as we have known it has changed, and the job of the president is not just to look at the past and the present, but to look to the future,” Loh said.
Loh said the discussions between Maryland and the Big Ten gathered steam two weeks ago. On Saturday, it became clear the discussions were serious.
“Space is not the divide that it was once upon a time,” Delany said.
Maryland gives the Big Ten a presence in the major media market of Washington. D.C. Rutgers, in New Brunswick, N.J., and about 40 miles south of New York City, puts the Big Ten in the country’s largest media market, and most heavily populated area.