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.
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.