LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Monday was the University of Maryland, College Park’s last day as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. As of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, it officially become a member of the Big Ten.
The initial announcement of the switch came in November 2012 at a news conference with school President Wallace D. Loh, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and athletic director Kevin Anderson.
“The membership of the Big Ten enables us to guarantee the financial sustainability of Maryland athletics for a long, long, long time,” Loh said then.
He noted that Maryland athletics had been living “paycheck to paycheck.” The school was forced to eliminate seven sports programs earlier that year.
At a celebratory block party at The Fairgrounds at Nationals Park Monday night, where mascots representing each of the conference’s teams were in attendance, Anderson announced that season ticket sales are already up.
“There’s one figure that I can give you right now that shows people are excited about the move, that we’re up 25 percent selling football season tickets from last year,” he said.
“So if that’s any indication of what’s here to come, we’re just happy being here and we’re excited to be a member of the Big Ten.”
Loh, when asked how long it will be before the Terrapins win a championship trophy within their new conference, noted that “all of the Big Ten teams are going to learn to Fear the Turtle as soon as they arrive to College Park.”
The Terrapins were a charter member of the ACC, which was founded in 1953. Obviously, former and current students and student athletes have cherished memories tied up in the conference. Many have expressed that the move is bittersweet.
“I think what happens is, anytime something happens where you have a change, people always react emotionally,” football coach Randy Edsall said.
“And you can understand, when you’ve been with something for 61 years, and all of a sudden you’re going somewhere else, you can understand those emotions… But I think now that everybody had the time to really digest it, and see what the Big Ten was gonna bring to the university, academically as well as athletically, they see that this was the right move.”
Rutgers University, formerly a member of the Big East Conference, is also celebrating its first day as a member of the Big Ten Tuesday.