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Dr. Saturday

Big Ten’s desire for Maryland is all about the future, not the present

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(US Presswire)

Maryland's invitation to the Big Ten was more about potential than current returns.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany spoke to media Monday after Maryland officially announced it was making the move from the ACC to the Big Ten and said the Big Ten could help the Terrapins live up to their full athletic department potential.

"To be honest with you, I don't understand why Maryland isn't more successful and I expect them to be more successful," Delany told SI.com. "I think of the location, and I can't help but think the core elements of success are in place -- players and resources and television. I would be very surprised if you look at the Maryland program in 10 years and don't see a robust basketball and football program. I think they'll be good."

The move to add Maryland — and likely Rutgers on Tuesday — is not a decision that Big Ten came to lightly. Delany said talks started months ago when Notre Dame declared intentions to join the ACC in all sports but football. Delany said he thought the Irish becoming an ACC football school was an eventuality and that the ACC would be at 16 teams while other conferences were at a disadvantage.

[Related: Big Ten considers taking on Maryland, Rutgers]

"We watched different conferences move out of their region," Delany said in a teleconference with the Chicago Tribune and ESPN.com. "The SEC moved into Texas [Texas A&M] and Missouri, the ACC moved into Pennsylvania [Pittsburgh] and Indiana [Notre Dame] and New York [Syracuse].

"It made us think: Are we vulnerable? What has been our advantage over time? Great institutions, great demographics. We started to think: What are the possibilities? We came to the conclusion: If there were opportunities there, we should explore them."

Delany said Maryland was a natural fit because it's in a contiguous state with the rest of the Big Ten schools and the addition of the Washington, D.C., television market doesn't hurt either. When Rutgers is added Tuesday, the Big Ten also will have the coveted New York/New Jersey market. To help with the transition and to make those schools feel included, the Big Ten is going to set up offices on the East Coast, but Delany said a location has yet to be determined.

"Maybe some people fear the turtle," Delany said, in reference to the Maryland's former slogan. "We embrace the turtle."

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