On a regular basis, our writers will break down a "Hot Topic" among the Michigan fans and express their personal opinions regarding the issue. Topics cover everything from major athletic department decisions to team apparel. Writers have their own opinions and readers and their views may not necessarily represent Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity. Readers are welcome to comment below or contact our writers via Twitter with their own thoughts.
Kyle Curtiss - Maryland And Rutgers Should Not Be Added To The Big Ten
1) When conferences are realigned, or when a conference adds more teams, there are usually good reasons behind it. Sound reasons. Even financial ones. The thought of Maryland and Rutgers being part of the Big Ten is illogical in many ways. M & R are not even the best teams in the Big East/ACC on a regular basis. Yes Rutgers is 9-1 right now, but that's just football and we all know the Big East is waning in terms of overall ability and skill. Neither team makes a regular splash in basketball either, so in terms of adding them for sporting reasons is completely fallible. Also, to be considered for the Big Ten, the institution must have a good academic program and while I don't know much about either one of them academically, I don't think they're in the same league as Michigan, Northwestern, or even Ohio State.
2) Another reason is location. We've seen in recent years that the argument in the geography of schools doesn't matter anymore. Boise State was flirting with the Big East, and in just football San Diego State is going to join the Big East. West Virginia is now in the Big 12--a typically Mid-western conference. M & R joining the Big Ten is not a big deal in that way, but it does add travel headaches for teams like Minnesota and Nebraska. Now imagine you're the heads of the Big East conference and you were just reassured that you'd still receive an automatic berth in one of the six upper-tier bowls. I don't want to be in that place right now. The Big Ten would expand to 14 teams (and still oddly enough want to hold onto that name which could be just purely for marketing purposes) and the ones teams benefiting from this move are the newbies. As far as I'm concerned, it would hurt the current members.
3) I think a lot of what is motivating this is money. Now, both schools would benefit tremendously from the Big Ten Network. They wouldn't receive a full share of TV money right away in the first year, or second for that matter, but they would get a full share after that. However, while the Big Ten teams consistently dominate the market that they're in, M & R do not even come in first in their own markets. I'm not sure how many households the BTN would be in after this move, but the more teams that are part of it, the more shares are diluted by the current schools.
Thomas Beindit - Maryland And Rutgers Should Not Be Added To The Big Ten
1) Typically, we split up the topics and have each writer take a stand on each side of the debate. However, we're not doing that today. We both believe that Maryland and Rutgers should not be added to the Big Ten. We have different reasons, but that's the results we landed at. The first thing worth noting is that both of these schools have a lot to offer. By now, it's been pounded into the ground that Maryland and Rutgers are not exactly competitive in either football or basketball. This is true, but both have traditionally been decent programs. Along with this, they have pretty big alumni bases, very solid academics, and most importantly, a lot of money. Failing to address these factors would avoid major elements of this debate. These are among many reasons to like these two schools in the Big Ten. Regardless, I still don't want them.
2) The first reason why I think adding Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten is a bad idea is because of one simple concept; meaningful addition. When a conference adds a school, it needs to be a well thought out process that includes all factors, not just expansion for the Big Ten Network. Look at other conferences like the ACC, Big East, and Big 12. There's a reason why they are less profitable than the Big Ten. They have become revolving doors for schools. Sure, they have some schools that have remained steadfast, but the turnover rate has been incredibly high in recent years. It's hard to develop things like rivalries when schools are only in the conference for a few years together then one of them leaves. Yes, if either or both schools join, there is a high likelihood that they will remain for the foreseeable future. However, when a conference like the Big Ten adds a school, it should be almost a unanimous reaction. There will always be some disagreement, but when the Big Ten added schools like Penn State and Nebraska, were there a lot of legitimate complaints? No, they were additions that had resounding positive reactions. Not every school is going to be a major powerhouse and an A+ addition, but do either of these schools really make fans excited? I know I certainly wouldn't be excited about a Michigan vs Maryland football or basketball game.
3) The other aspect that I think is worth considering is the cultural component. Yes, the Big Ten is looking to expand beyond the Midwest and "rust belt" and yes, this is good considering population movement. Expanding your footprint to more areas and more areas with increasing populations means more viewers, more fans, and more money in the long-term. The problem I have with this is that some schools are just not going to be a good fit. I agree that the Big Ten needs to keep its long-term growth in mind and try to get more fans. However, you are risking your established product when you add schools like Maryland and Rutgers. If you slowly ventured out to the east coast with one team that fits reasonable well, it might work. However, the Big Ten would be adding two schools that don't really have any reason to be included except for money. Where are the rivals, where is the common bond, and who is going to have a desire to play these teams? I see none of these factors and that's why I think those schools would be a bad addition.
Kyle - I agree with Thomas on pretty much every single point he has made so far. Let me make a couple more. One, if the Big Ten can consider meaningful additions, then I think overtures should be made to Cincinnati and Pitt. Both schools have good academic programs and would fit better into the Big Ten both geographically and culturally. Recruiting areas out east are nice, but the Big Ten is already successful in bringing in athletes from both the Pennsylvania and Ohio regions. There is nothing these schools would have in common in that end. I believe Maryland and Rutgers would actually diminish their recruiting base--potential kids that want in the Big Ten would most likely go to the established institutions. Two, the money. I mentioned earlier about the TV money, but what about the potential buyouts both these schools would have to make? Can Maryland or Rutgers afford it, even looking 10 years into the future? Three, and this is my final point--if Delany and the Big Ten do this, the conference will be at 14 teams, which will be unlike the past Big Ten. He might be retiring soon, and setting up the Big Ten to add two more teams on top of that to form the first super-conference. I don't know if I'm keen with that concept, but for now I'm vehemently against adding these two schools. Nebraska and Penn State is different, they were a great fit. Adding Maryland and Rutgers feels like wearing parachute pants with a suit jacket.
Thomas - I agree that the bottom-line of this deal is about money. In college sports, it almost always is about money to a certain degree. However, I do think that Maryland and Rutgers could add to some areas by doing things like broadening the base and increasing revenues for both now and the future. These shouldn't be overlooked, but the massive negative aspects of these additions simply outweigh the positives. A little more money is nice, but the Big Ten will truly be risking some of its long-term healthy by adding these types of teams. Perhaps Maryland or Rutgers could develop something in the future that would really make them an attractive addition, but for now, they would be expansions solely for the sake of expanding, which is never a good mindset.
All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity. Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with their thoughts