Really, Jim Delany?
I thought you were fine with sitting at twelve schools. You said that just two months ago when the ACC pulled the Notre Dame rug out from underneath you. As the college tectonic plates shifted around the Midwest, you stood firm. Let the Big East grab all those schools from Idaho and California. You’re the Big Ten! You’re Jim Delany! Everything is fine!
So imagine my surprise when you opted to wake up the sleeping bear just as it nodded off to hibernation, and brought Maryland and Rutgers into the fold. Wonderful timing, Jimmy. Just as we all caught our breath with the realignment garbage that has infected sports over the last five years (which you started, by the way. Thanks again), you take your turn doing the rug-pulling. Oh, how kind of you, Jim! Happy Thanksgiving!
I could get behind this if the schools you brought in made sense, but they don’t. I get the point. I get the reasoning. Rutgers is less than an hour from New York City, same with Maryland and Baltimore/Washington. That’s, like, oodles of people! 30 million is a big number! Just think of all the people who may stumble on the Big Ten Network in a hung-over stupor on Saturdays! Limitless possibilities!
That’s why none of this actually makes sense. Rutgers in New York and Maryland in Baltimore has about as much pull as Northwestern does in Chicago. You’ll see the purple and white every dozen blocks or so in the Windy City, but that’s it. Despite their marketing efforts, the Wildcats have never garnered an impactful foothold in Chicago. Same with Rutgers and Maryland. Try as they might, they’ve failed.
So now, Jimmy, you’ve added two schools that are nearish to big cities that have been less than oblivious to their existence for decades in hopes of getting a dollar or two from the east coast. But you’ve chosen two schools that have been in financial hell for the better part of a decade. Schools that have shed athletic programs to stay profitable faster than Americans shed pants after Thanksgiving dinner. And you think THIS is the source of the coveted east coast dollar? Maryland has been treading water for five years, and you bring them onboard because of Jeff in Bethesda? Rutgers has been the Big East’s version of the kid down the street who wants to play for decades, but here’s to opening a few wallets in Hoboken!
Bottom line? The Big Ten is the latest American organization to enact a bailout, saving two drowning athletic programs in exchange for a few more cable subscriptions and a chance. A gamble the ACC and Big East never won. It may work for the Big Ten, but likely won’t. As we wrap up a brutal year for Big Ten football, the conference adds the wreckage of Big East football and a train wreck. This is not a move for competition, or geography, or history. It’s for money. Money that won’t be coming.
Happy Holidays, Jim.
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