Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, could be taking its next charter flight to the Big Ten.
The university is in serious discussions to join the Big Ten and an official decision could come as soon as tomorrow, according to cursory reports from ESPN. Maryland’s board of regents will meet on Monday morning to vote on the conference fate of the school.
If Maryland approves the move and the Big Ten grants the school admission, Rutgers, according to the report, will request to become the league’s 14th member. But whereas a Rutgers jump to the Big Ten would be bad for the acquiring conference, Maryland bolting to the new league is all kinds of bad for the school itself, specifically the basketball program.
The bitter rivalry with Duke—which during the early 2000s was the most intense in the ACC, perhaps even in all of college basketball—would summarily die. Traditional games against Carolina, Clemson, N.C. State and Wake Forest: lost for good.
Say goodbye to all the shenanigans and chicanery borne from the Duke-Maryland rivalry, exhibited best by a cunning Maryland fan who once infiltrated Duke’s “cheer sheet” clearance process—yes, such a system actually exists allowing fans a chance to recommend cheers for upcoming games—to dupe the Cameron Crazies into cheering “Myron Piggie” at a game between the two schools. That’s Myron Piggie, as in the former crack dealer and AAU coach who illegally paid former Duke swingman Corey Maggette while Maggette was in high school.
Maryland’s ACC membership fostered a unique dynamic outside the lines, be it Lefty Driesell’s taunting of the Crazies, Gary Williams drowning in his own sweat by the bench or the intensity of an ACC rivalry game spilling into the stands. Yes, the games themselves were special, but sometimes they were secondary.
All the passion and energy exuded on the floor diffused into the crowd in double or triple dosages. The Maryland faithful relished hating Duke and Carolina especially, while Blue Devils and Tar Heels fans alike took pleasure in their teams beating the snot out of the Terps. Maryland was an indispensable source of ACC livelihood that has allowed the conference to reach such extraordinary heights over the last several decades.