After wide speculation, rumors and consideration the University of Maryland Board of Regents has approved the school to join the B1G Conference. Maryland will be leaving behind a conference it helped build in 1953. It is no doubt that rivalries and school ties will be broken with UMD’s departure, but the school has been stricken with financial woes since the days of Athletic Director Debbie Yow. The most important question is, “What will happen to Maryland lacrosse and what are the implications of them leaving the ACC for the B1G?”
What does this mean for B1G and Maryland?
Maryland will not have a conference affiliation because the Big Ten doesn’t recognize it. They could join a conference like ECAC or remain independent. Regardless, Maryland will face lesser competition in-conference. Lesser in conference competition means tougher time getting into the NCAAs because of a lower SOS.
UMD Lacrosse could possibly become less attractive to recruits. It makes it less attractive to recruits because you go from playing Top 10 teams in lax every year to teams that aren’t even in the Top 20. You can sell the history and the eliteness of the ACC, not the Big Ten (or no conference, in this case). It would be best for the Terps to remain independent until the B1G has six teams to make an official conference. Joining the ECAC, which Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State currently play in, wouldn’t make any sense.
Don’t forget, other schools may elevate lacrosse programs to Varsity status. In October, Denver Coach Bill Tierney mentioned he heard rumblings of Minnesota adding a lacrosse team. People commenting on ESPN have also expressed enthusiasm with more B1G schools adding DI lacrosse. As one commenter, Lucky Badger, states:
This could be awesome!! It’s about time the Badgers got a lacrosse team, the B1G could be an awesome lax conference.
Rutgers is also rumored to join the B1G. If Rutgers follows Maryland to the B1G then it would make five teams. One step closer to making the B1G an official conference. Will it be a new program from an existing B1G program or will another ACC school such as Virginia be welcomed into the B1G?
What does this mean for ACC lacrosse? Notre Dame and Syracuse?
Notre Dame and Syracuse are beginning play in the ACC Conference in 2013. Everyone including us were excited about the new powerhouse conference of lacrosse, but now it seems it is still likely to be a force of a conference…just without Maryland. This also means no automatic NCAA qualifier once Maryland officially leaves for the B1G. We are looking at maybe only three teams getting into the NCAA Tournament from the ACC. Plus we will have to see how other things shake out. There may be other ACC schools that leave — do FSU and Clemson jump to the SEC? If so, does the Big Ten pick up a team like UVA? It will be interesting to see.
Will this expand the sport of lacrosse throughout the Midwest, country?
Yes, most definitely! Schools are adding programs at the highest rate it’s ever been. Schools such as Illinois Wesleyan, Marquette, Saint Mary’s College (Ind.), Michigan and Augsburg College are just a few teams that have added college lacrosse programs in the last few years. Looking at it from a financial perspective adding lacrosse increases revenue and exposure.
This will be interesting to see what happens in the weeks to come for not only lacrosse in the Midwest, but the country as a whole.