BALTIMORE, Md. -- Andy Frankel is a 38-year old school teacher who loves sports and lives in Baltimore. He worked with the Bowie Baysox minor-league baseball team for several seasons but never hesitated to show his support for Maryland, the place he earned his degree.
That's why Frankel came to downtown Baltimore Monday morning to see the first steps in Maryland's transformation from being a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten. He talked with a bunch of coaches and even brought his four-month old son, Evan, wearing his own tiny Terps hat.
"It's a great move for the University," Frankel said. "As a Terp alum and long-time Maryland fan, being an ACC school, at first I was a little turned off by it. But I understand that no doubt it's best move for the university."
The long-awaited move to the Big Ten is here as the Terps join their new conference on Tuesday. Maryland is having some events to celebrate the transition to the Big Ten, one of which came Monday at the Under Armour Brand House in Baltimore on Monday. It looked a whole lot like a pep rally thanks to the many fans wearing white Maryland shirts, a band playing lots of music, and some cheerleaders working to get the crowd fired up.
For Maryland fans who wanted to get their hands on exclusive Maryland/Big Ten inaugural apparel, all they had to do was walk into the store after the brief ceremony ended. The first two people to get some of that were Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Maryland Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson – who both modeled fire-engine red shirts that drew cheers from the crowd.
This was the beginning of the big change for Maryland. The school's gotten some tough backlash over its decision to leave a conference it's been part of for so long, but there's no question now that they're looking to the future, a point Anderson tried to make several times in speaking with the media afterwards.
"We're a great university in this great conference,"Anderson said. "We're proud and we're just looking forward to it. Tomorrow is a happy day for us."
Rutgers also will be joining the Big Ten, but Delany talked about how excited the conference was to have Maryland now, especially because there's been so much work involved in the move.
"It's a great day; an awful lot of preparation has gone into it," Delany said. "I think the Big Ten and Maryland have a great future together. Maryland's got a lot of characteristics that mimic our institutions. I think the world's just gotten smaller…and now with the world as globalized as it is and Maryland being the center and Washington, D.C. being the center of many things international. I think it will fit hand in glove."
One of the biggest concerns of Maryland fans is how well the Terrapins will be able to compete in the Big Ten in certain spots.
Anderson said the Terps aren't going in there with a rebuilding program. They've been winning for many years in many sports and want to keep playing at that level in the Big Ten. In other words, they don't want to suddenly start losing.
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