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Smith On Maryland, No Bowl Ban

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith held a press conference late this afternoon to discuss the addition of Maryland to the Big Ten. (Rutgers is expected to become the conference’s 14th member on Tuesday.)

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In the course of that press conference, Smith was also asked about OSU’s decision to not self-impose a bowl ban last season. Some believe the Buckeyes would have been eligible for postseason play this year had they taken that step a year ago. It has come up again this week as the Buckeyes, sitting at 11-0, would be in position to play in the BCS national championship game if they were eligible.

(For some video of Smith’s appearance today, check it out above.)

But first Smith shared his take on the expansion and addition of Maryland.

“I want to take this opportunity to extend to Maryland and its constituency – its fans and all of the people who work at the University of Maryland – a warm welcome on behalf of The Ohio State University and Buckeye Nation,” Smith said. “We look forward to having you as a member of our family. We embrace your rich tradition and history and everything you mean to higher education and intercollegiate athletics.

“It’s a great move for our conference. When you think about where the landscape is today and what’s happened with intercollegiate athletics and as we move toward the future there will continue to be some change. Maryland is a great addition to our conference.

“We look forward to getting down to the details and trying to deal with the scheduling issues and the transition issues.”

When the Big Ten added Penn State in 1993 and Nebraska last year, it was obvious those schools brought a cache as two of the winningest programs in the history of the sport.

But neither Maryland nor Rutgers bring anything close to that kind of pedigree. What they do bring, however, is a chance for the Big Ten Network to increase monthly subscriber fees in at least Maryland; Washington, D.C.; New Jersey and maybe some other areas as well.

Plus, the addition of two new schools – slated for the 2014-15 school year – will give the Big Ten an increased inventory of games to sell to its television partners. It’s estimated by adding those increased BTN subscriber fees and increased broadcast fees these additions could be worth $200 million or more. That equates to anywhere from $5-10 million additionally for each Big Ten school each year, depending on how it all shakes out.

“You can’t skirt the fact it will assist us as we move forward to our next television agreement that expires in 2017,” Smith said. “There is no doubt about that. Secondly, we pick up the East Coast. There are a little more than 6 million people in Maryland. As an institution, there are a lot of great graduates who have accomplished so much.

“We knew at some point we might have to expand and Maryland is a great partner. We pick up new markets.”

Smith was asked about the decision to not impose a bowl ban in 2011.

“The decisions that we made, relative to our NCAA case, we made to the best of our abilities given the information that we had,” Smith said. “I am not into speculative positioning in life. I’m not one of those guys prone to what-if scenarios because we could sit here and give you a million other ifs had we gone there. I’m not going there.

“I am worried about making sure that we position our football staff, our student-athletes and everything we have so we can have the opportunity to beat that Team Up North. That’s my mission right now. I apologize if that sounds insensitive. But that is the reality of what we have to do today.

“We have to look at what’s in front of us and not what’s behind us.”

Maryland Expansion Press Release

Here is the press release from the Big Ten on the addition of Maryland to the conference:

Park Ridge, Ill.— The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) announced unanimous approval today for the University of Maryland to join the Big Ten Conference effective July 1, 2014, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2014-15 academic year. The University of Maryland also looks forward to joining the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of world-class research institutions dedicated to advancing their academic missions.

“Today is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland,” said university president Dr. Wallace D. Loh. “Membership in the Big Ten Conference is in the strategic interest of the University of Maryland. It will not only ensure the financial vitality of Maryland Athletics for decades to come, but the extensive opportunities in the CIC for collaborations with our peer AAU and flagship universities in education, research, and innovation will boost the University of Maryland’s ascendancy in academic excellence.”

“The Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome the University of Maryland to the Big Ten Conference," said COP/C Chair and University of Iowa President Sally Mason. “The University of Maryland is one of the premier public research universities in the country and represents a natural alignment with our other member institutions. Their top-ranked academic and athletic programs will be a tremendous addition to our conference.”

“Today is a historic day for both the University of Maryland and for Maryland Athletics,” said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. “The Big Ten is an outstanding conference comprised of flagship research universities. Our new peers share our pursuit of both athletic and academic excellence. We are thrilled to join the Big Ten and look forward to beginning this next chapter in Maryland Athletics starting in 2014.”

In order for an institution to be admitted to the Big Ten Conference, it must submit a written application, which must then be approved by at least 70 percent of the Big Ten COP/C. The University of Maryland formally submitted an application to join the Big Ten Conference Monday morning. The Big Ten COP/C then met via conference call and unanimously approved UMD’s application.

“The Big Ten Conference is excited to welcome the University of Maryland beginning with the 2014-15 academic year,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “Maryland is a tradition-rich institution with a history of academic and athletic excellence. They’re a great fit and we look forward to a great future.”

About the University of Maryland: The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. Ranked No. 19 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report, it has 30 academic programs in the U.S News Top 10. UMD is one of only six universities in the world with top 25 programs in Computer Science, Engineering, Economics and Business, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Physics and Social Sciences, according to the Academic Ranking of Worldwide Universities.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes’ lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based athletic programs of the 12 Big Ten institutions sponsor 298 teams competing for championships in 25 official conference sports, 12 for men and 13 for women. Big Ten universities provide in excess of $136 million in athletic scholarship aid to nearly 10,000 men and women student-athletes, the most of any conference. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.

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