Big 10 means big bucks
The nation's convoluted map of major college athletic conferences became more so this week with announcements that the University of Maryland would leave the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers University would leave the Big East to join the Big 10.
All around, it's mostly about the money. Each Big 10 university this year received $24.6 million from the conference, largely from football bowl revenue, basketball playoff money and Big Ten Network profits. Rutgers' total athletic revenue this year is about $8 million. Maryland cut seven varsity sports this year, most of which it will be able to restore by joining the Big 10.
The conference gets a major presence in the New York/New Jersey and District of Columbia metro media markets, which it hopes to translate into even greater revenue for the TV operation.
For Penn State, formerly the far eastern-most member of the traditionally Midwest conference, the additions should be good news. Maryland and Rutgers, geographically, are natural rivals and their addition could help PSU recruit for men's basketball.
Now, the changes should be food for thought for Notre Dame, which recently left the Big East to join the ACC in all sports but football and hockey. The Big 10 always has been a more natural conference for the Fighting Irish. If the conference looks to go to 16 universities, Notre Dame should take the plunge.