Two years ago, Maryland fired Ralph Friedgen, who was just named ACC
Coach of the Year after leading the Terps to an 8-4 season. During his career
in College Park, Friedgen had taken his alma mater to seven bowls in 10 years
and compiled a 74-50 record
Athletic director Kevin Anderson called the move a long-term "business decision"
and wanted to move the program from "good to great". Many felt it was Kevin
Plank, a Maryland grad and emperor of Under Armour which outfits the
university with uniforms and sports apparel, who was pulling all the strings.
Maryland yanked Randy Edsall away from UConn and then broke out some of
the worst uniforms this world has ever seen. It was to be a new day at Maryland
as they proclaimed they were trying to "go national".
The Terps upset Miami in Edsall's first game, creating instant excitement. But
it quickly became like the crash people suffer after eating sugar-loaded Twinkies.
Maryland went flat. Maryland is just 5-17 since that win, not exactly going from
"good to great". The administration is probably longing for the days of the 7-4
seasons that Friedgen regularly produced during his time there.
As for the move to fire Friedgen being a "business decision", well, that hasn't
exactly worked out either. Attendance for football games is brutal. Three days
before the final home game in the careers of the seniors, Edsall was in the press
begging for people to come out. Sad, truly sad.
Shortly after the Terps were blown out by Florida State on Saturday, it was
reported that Maryland could be headed for the Big Ten conference. Len Elmore,
a Maryland basketball legend has called the move nothing more than "a money
grab." He said it was "sad" and a "bad move", adding, "Anything that's driven
solely by dollars, it'll turn out badly."
So will those Maryland and Purdue, Maryland and Iowa match-ups at Byrd
Stadium. If you think nobody shows up for a Florida State game, who is going
to come see Purdue or Iowa?
Maryland is seeking a quick fix for an athletic department that is bleeding
money. The department cut seven athletic programs last July and a deal
with the Big Ten could bring a hole lotta more money thanks to a monster
television contract. I don't know how the school thinks it's going to off-set
the $50 million exit fee from the ACC the conference has imposed. Perhaps,
Under Armour can produce more uniforms to sell on-line.
Forget about the ACC tradition Maryland built in the conference. Forget
about loyalty. Forget about everything but the Benjamins. Because it's
always about the Benjamins.