Maryland Announces Move to Big Ten Conference

Maryland’s athletic department was $21 million in the red last year

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Maryland’s athletic department is broke.

That’s why the school made the decision to jump from the ACC to the Big Ten. They wanted to balance their budget, to stop operating in the red and to reinstate the seven sports that were cut back in 2012.

As Maryland President Wallace Loh told SI.com last November, “by being members of the Big Ten Conference, we will be able to ensure the financial sustainability of Maryland athletics for decades to come.”

The plateau of financial sustainability may take longer to reach than originally expected, however.

According to a report released by the University, Maryland’s athletic department operated at a deficit of $21 million last academic year. Here’s Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post on the issue:

The commission found that the Maryland athletic department operated at a deficit of more than $21 million for the past academic year because of two reasons: “past financial decisions” that led to continuing debt and the ACC’s withholding of roughly $15 million in revenue. The conference began withholding the revenue last year as part of its efforts to collect a $52 million exit fee from the school, which maintains that the fee is illegal.

According to the report, the university has loaned the athletic department — which has a goal of being self-sufficient — upwards of $21 million to overcome the deficit, with additional loans of $20 million potentially required if the ACC continues to withhold revenue.

Even with the additional Big Ten money, Maryland’s athletic department isn’t projected to operate at a surplus until 2017-2018, and thanks to the debt they will have to repay to the University, the school won’t be spending the amount per athlete that the rest of the Big Ten does until 2025.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: