Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

February 13, 2013

Preachers in glass pulpits ...

The Big Ten has agreed to no longer schedule Football Championship Subdivision opponents (prior to 2006, known as NCAA Division I-AA opponents) during non-conference play.

So just how is Maryland and Rutgers, who are scheduled to join the Big Ten in 2014, supposed to take that? Is this move being made because the Big Ten nonconference schedule is, in Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez’s word, “ridiculous”? Or is it because, with Maryland and Rutgers joining the league, there will no longer be a need for Big Ten schools to schedule FCS opponents?

Just saying ...

Oh, and is a title or the name of a group with the word “subdivision” in it supposed to make you feel more significant than the one with “I-AA” in it?

I’ll tell you the word that does it for me: “playoffs”, which is what they have in the “subdivision.”

Again, just saying.

Anyway, I see soon-to-be Pope K, currently known as Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, was at it again on the eve of last night’s Duke-North Carolina game, talking up the great rivalries of college athletics, and how these great rivalries are really what intercollegiate athletics is all about.

Last month, from his pulpit on his SiriusXM radio show “Basketball and Beyond,” Coach K lamented the fact that Maryland had decided to leave the ACC for the Big Ten. To help make his righteous point, he talked about brand — the Duke brand and the ACC brand, for instance — and he talked about people — “Duke people and ACC people”, for instance.

And then he said, “And when you give that up, what price is that? What does that do? The fact that there will never be a Duke-Maryland game again. There may never be a Texas-Texas A&M game again, a Syracuse-Georgetown game again. Those schools aren’t gonna schedule one another. I mean, that’s not gonna happen. And in Maryland’s case, that’s the only conference they’ve known. And they’re right in the middle of the ACC. And now their fans, they don’t have a place. They’re outsiders. They really are outsiders. What price? What price is paid for that?”

How nice that Coach K has developed this sudden concern for Maryland fans. Please.

A.) What price is that?

How many millions more dollars Maryland, which, thanks to ACC cornerstone Chairman Yow, is in desperate financial straits, will now receive as a Big Ten member will be the price. Everything has a price, right? Although I’m sure Coach K does his nationally syndicated radio show for freebies.

B.) There will never be a Duke-Maryland game again?

Once the ACC expands again, Duke-Maryland games would have been few and far between, as Maryland’s ACC “rival” is set to be Pittsburgh, meaning the Terps and the Panthers would play two regular-season basketball games every year.

Boy, if that doesn’t get the fires stirring — for both Pitt and Maryland.

C.) The ACC is the only conference Maryland has known?

Um, no. Maryland — like Duke — was in the Southern Conference before Maryland, along with Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina and Wake Forest, founded the ACC in 1953 because the Southern Conference prohibited its schools from participating in bowl games.

D.) “And now their fans, they don’t have a place. They’re outsiders. They really are outsiders.”

That’s right, outsiders. Just like that book you read in high school. So change the Maryland nickname from Terrapins to Ponyboys. Or Sodapops or, better yet, Two-Bits. Because, for the past 60 years, that’s what Maryland, a founding member of the ACC, and any other school north or south of the state of North Carolina has ever been to the ACC anyway. They’ve been the Outsiders — the Greasers.

Now, however, just as Coach K is because of his radio show, as well as many other of his perks, they’ll be better paid greasers. Whether we like it or not, more power to Maryland, and more power to Coach K. If anybody deserves to be well paid, it’s him. But that doesn’t give him the right to be judge and jury because somebody else is in a position to replenish his own coffers, and then takes the opportunity to do so.

Great rivalries like Carolina-Duke? Yeah, they are great. But even the great and powerful Mike Krzyzewski, more so than anybody, should be honest enough to admit, in this sad day and age, the fuel of big-time intercollegiate athletics is direct deposit.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

 

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