Smith Reflects On Adding Maryland, Rutgers

Maryland and Rutgers are officially Big Ten members as of this morning. BSB takes a look at the newest members of the Big Ten East Division and gets Gene Smith's thoughts on the November 2012 expansion that brought each team to the league.

Today is the big day – Maryland and Rutgers are officially now members of the Big Ten, in case you hadn't noticed.

Another person who shares those sentiments is Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith, who told BSB as part of a wide-ranging interview – which ran in the print edition of the paper – last week that the league continues to be happy with its decision to move east and add the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights.

"I'm excited about them coming in," he said. "I know it's not a popular decision, but from a business point of view it worked and it will work. We needed a presence on the East Coast. We needed to give Penn State partners to protect them. It worked, but yeah, I'm excited."

Since the decision has been announced, the Big Ten has done its best to set up roots on the East Coast. The league announced that the its 2017 men's basketball tournament will be staged in Washington, D.C., and a satellite Big Ten office was opened in Manhattan. In addition, all of the major cable operators in the New York and New Jersey area have come to deals with the Big Ten Network, exactly the boon the league had hoped for when it moved out east.

LINK: Maryland Joins In Style (From our Maryland site)

Of course, it hasn't always been a rosy marriage, at least as far as the fan base is concerned. A recent Sports Illustrated article pointed out all of the reasons why the Big Ten moved east – including to expand the league's footprint as the Midwest population stagnates – but also noted that fans haven't always been on board as the Big Ten seems to lose some of what made it the Big Ten.

While Penn State, the 11th member who started football play in 1993, has come to be accepted as a member of the league over the past 20 years and Nebraska was noted as a perfect fit to begin, there has been a fair bit of skepticism about Rutgers and Maryland.

Smith understands but also sees the move as a necessary choice – especially because there was no guarantee the league was going to be able to stay together as it was during the most recent round of conference musical chairs in late 2012.

LINK: What Does Rutgers Bring To The Big Ten? (From our Rutgers site)

"That goes back to what we deal with locally, so being careful, holding on to our traditions and history but understanding our world is changing," he said. "People need to understand that realignment was going to happen. If we took a vote back in 1996 about realignment, everybody would say, ‘Don't realign because you're changing who we are.'

"Well, you know what? There's a lot of companies that fail because they stayed the way they were. There's probably only a few like Southwest that say, ‘We're not doing anything differently. It's gang seating, and that isn't changing.' There's only a few that survive that way.

"Our world was changing and we were blessed that we put the Big Ten Network together, so the reality of trying to expand to that market made sense to us. Even the Sports Illustrated article missed the Penn State issue and the potential for the ACC to go into the Big Ten and go to Penn State and say, ‘Hey, join us.' So it's interesting."

Maryland and Rutgers were a combined 13-13 in football a season ago and each lost bowl games to close their seasons, but there is hope the two new entrants will be able to add something to the conference on the field. The 1953 national champion, Maryland has traditionally been a mediocre program but has had success at times in recent years, including three consecutive 10-win seasons under Ralph Friedgen from 2001-03 and 9-4 campaigns in 2006 and '10. Current coach Randy Edsall has improved the Terps from two wins in his first year to four in 2012 and seven last year.

Meanwhile, Rutgers is a traditional doormat despite being in talent-rich New Jersey – the program didn't have a winning record from 1993-2004 – but has had much more success of late under Greg Schiano and Kyle Flood. The Scarlet Knights averaged 8.3 wins per year from 2006-12 and captured a share of the Big East title the final year of that run before last year's 6-7 campaign.

In other sports, Maryland has often been a power in basketball – former Ohio State coach Gary Williams led the Terps to the 2001 NCAA title – and has a solid résumé in sports like men's soccer and men's lacrosse, while Rutgers has had success in women's basketball under legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer.

"My hope is that being part of the Big Ten, that (the programs at Maryland and Rutgers) will elevate," Smith said. "Maryland has a rich tradition in basketball and was dominant for a very long time, so hopefully that will increase. Rutgers had a good run in football. It wasn't consistent but they had a good run, so we can help them elevate. Anyway, it wasn't a popular decision, but I know for where we need to be down the road, it was the right decision. We couldn't go west very easily. So I feel good about where we are."

As for future expansion, Smith said he doesn't exact to see anything happening in that realm before his contract runs out at Ohio State in 2020.

"Not in the near future, no," he said. "Do I think it's going to happen down the road? Yeah. I'll be retired, sitting in the stands, screaming, talking to the officials. But I think down the road it'll probably happen again. It's just going to happen. There's television, the ability to keep the fan base growing in certain markets. Not all markets, but certain markets will say, ‘We need to do something different.' The Big 12 to me, they are very solid where they are with 10 schools, but will that continue to work over time? You never know.

"So the reality is I think down the road we'll see expansion, but it's not anywhere in the near future."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories

\r\n

\r\nAnother person who shares those sentiments is Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith, who told BSB as part of a wide-ranging interview – which ran in the print edition of the paper – last week that the league continues to be happy with its decision to move east and add the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights.\r\n

\r\n\"I'm excited about them coming in,\" he said. \"I know it's not a popular decision, but from a business point of view it worked and it will work. We needed a presence on the East Coast. We needed to give Penn State partners to protect them. It worked, but yeah, I'm excited.\"\r\n

\r\nSince the decision has been announced, the Big Ten has done its best to set up roots on the East Coast. The league announced that the its 2017 men's basketball tournament will be staged in Washington, D.C., and a satellite Big Ten office was opened in Manhattan. In addition, all of the major cable operators in the New York and New Jersey area have come to deals with the Big Ten Network, exactly the boon the league had hoped for when it moved out east.\r\n

\r\nLINK: Maryland Joins In Style (From our Maryland site)\r\n

\r\nOf course, it hasn't always been a rosy marriage, at least as far as the fan base is concerned. A recent Sports Illustrated article pointed out all of the reasons why the Big Ten moved east – including to expand the league's footprint as the Midwest population stagnates – but also noted that fans haven't always been on board as the Big Ten seems to lose some of what made it the Big Ten.\r\n

\r\nWhile Penn State, the 11th member who started football play in 1993, has come to be accepted as a member of the league over the past 20 years and Nebraska was noted as a perfect fit to begin, there has been a fair bit of skepticism about Rutgers and Maryland.\r\n

\r\nSmith understands but also sees the move as a necessary choice – especially because there was no guarantee the league was going to be able to stay together as it was during the most recent round of conference musical chairs in late 2012.\r\n

\r\nLINK: What Does Rutgers Bring To The Big Ten? (From our Rutgers site)\r\n

\r\n\"That goes back to what we deal with locally, so being careful, holding on to our traditions and history but understanding our world is changing,\" he said. \"People need to understand that realignment was going to happen. If we took a vote back in 1996 about realignment, everybody would say, ‘Don't realign because you're changing who we are.'\r\n

\r\n\"Well, you know what? There's a lot of companies that fail because they stayed the way they were. There's probably only a few like Southwest that say, ‘We're not doing anything differently. It's gang seating, and that isn't changing.' There's only a few that survive that way. \r\n

\r\n\"Our world was changing and we were blessed that we put the Big Ten Network together, so the reality of trying to expand to that market made sense to us. Even the Sports Illustrated article missed the Penn State issue and the potential for the ACC to go into the Big Ten and go to Penn State and say, ‘Hey, join us.' So it's interesting.\"\r\n

\r\nMaryland and Rutgers were a combined 13-13 in football a season ago and each lost bowl games to close their seasons, but there is hope the two new entrants will be able to add something to the conference on the field. The 1953 national champion, Maryland has traditionally been a mediocre program but has had success at times in recent years, including three consecutive 10-win seasons under Ralph Friedgen from 2001-03 and 9-4 campaigns in 2006 and '10. Current coach Randy Edsall has improved the Terps from two wins in his first year to four in 2012 and seven last year.\r\n

\r\nMeanwhile, Rutgers is a traditional doormat despite being in talent-rich New Jersey – the program didn't have a winning record from 1993-2004 – but has had much more success of late under Greg Schiano and Kyle Flood. The Scarlet Knights averaged 8.3 wins per year from 2006-12 and captured a share of the Big East title the final year of that run before last year's 6-7 campaign.\r\n

\r\nIn other sports, Maryland has often been a power in basketball – former Ohio State coach Gary Williams led the Terps to the 2001 NCAA title – and has a solid résumé in sports like men's soccer and men's lacrosse, while Rutgers has had success in women's basketball under legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer.\r\n

\r\n\"My hope is that being part of the Big Ten, that (the programs at Maryland and Rutgers) will elevate,\" Smith said. \"Maryland has a rich tradition in basketball and was dominant for a very long time, so hopefully that will increase. Rutgers had a good run in football. It wasn't consistent but they had a good run, so we can help them elevate. Anyway, it wasn't a popular decision, but I know for where we need to be down the road, it was the right decision. We couldn't go west very easily. So I feel good about where we are.\"\r\n

\r\nAs for future expansion, Smith said he doesn't exact to see anything happening in that realm before his contract runs out at Ohio State in 2020.\r\n

\r\n\"Not in the near future, no,\" he said. \"Do I think it's going to happen down the road? Yeah. I'll be retired, sitting in the stands, screaming, talking to the officials. But I think down the road it'll probably happen again. It's just going to happen. There's television, the ability to keep the fan base growing in certain markets. Not all markets, but certain markets will say, ‘We need to do something different.' The Big 12 to me, they are very solid where they are with 10 schools, but will that continue to work over time? You never know. \r\n

\r\n\"So the reality is I think down the road we'll see expansion, but it's not anywhere in the near future.\"\r\n","mobileBody":"Today is the big day – Maryland and Rutgers are officially now members of the Big Ten, in case you hadn't noticed.

Hanging with the #B1GMascots crew in DC. Welcoming @RUScarletKnight & @TestudoUMD to the party. pic.twitter.com/EefgOTvo44

— Brutus Buckeye (@Brutus_Buckeye) June 30, 2014

Another person who shares those sentiments is Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith, who told BSB as part of a wide-ranging interview – which ran in the print edition of the paper – last week that the league continues to be happy with its decision to move east and add the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights.

\"I'm excited about them coming in,\" he said. \"I know it's not a popular decision, but from a business point of view it worked and it will work. We needed a presence on the East Coast. We needed to give Penn State partners to protect them. It worked, but yeah, I'm excited.\"

Since the decision has been announced, the Big Ten has done its best to set up roots on the East Coast. The league announced that the its 2017 men's basketball tournament will be staged in Washington, D.C., and a satellite Big Ten office was opened in Manhattan. In addition, all of the major cable operators in the New York and New Jersey area have come to deals with the Big Ten Network, exactly the boon the league had hoped for when it moved out east.

LINK: Maryland Joins In Style (From our Maryland site)

Of course, it hasn't always been a rosy marriage, at least as far as the fan base is concerned. A recent Sports Illustrated article pointed out all of the reasons why the Big Ten moved east – including to expand the league's footprint as the Midwest population stagnates – but also noted that fans haven't always been on board as the Big Ten seems to lose some of what made it the Big Ten.

While Penn State, the 11th member who started football play in 1993, has come to be accepted as a member of the league over the past 20 years and Nebraska was noted as a perfect fit to begin, there has been a fair bit of skepticism about Rutgers and Maryland.

Smith understands but also sees the move as a necessary choice – especially because there was no guarantee the league was going to be able to stay together as it was during the most recent round of conference musical chairs in late 2012.

LINK: What Does Rutgers Bring To The Big Ten? (From our Rutgers site)

\"That goes back to what we deal with locally, so being careful, holding on to our traditions and history but understanding our world is changing,\" he said. \"People need to understand that realignment was going to happen. If we took a vote back in 1996 about realignment, everybody would say, ‘Don't realign because you're changing who we are.'

\"Well, you know what? There's a lot of companies that fail because they stayed the way they were. There's probably only a few like Southwest that say, ‘We're not doing anything differently. It's gang seating, and that isn't changing.' There's only a few that survive that way.

\"Our world was changing and we were blessed that we put the Big Ten Network together, so the reality of trying to expand to that market made sense to us. Even the Sports Illustrated article missed the Penn State issue and the potential for the ACC to go into the Big Ten and go to Penn State and say, ‘Hey, join us.' So it's interesting.\"

Maryland and Rutgers were a combined 13-13 in football a season ago and each lost bowl games to close their seasons, but there is hope the two new entrants will be able to add something to the conference on the field. The 1953 national champion, Maryland has traditionally been a mediocre program but has had success at times in recent years, including three consecutive 10-win seasons under Ralph Friedgen from 2001-03 and 9-4 campaigns in 2006 and '10. Current coach Randy Edsall has improved the Terps from two wins in his first year to four in 2012 and seven last year.

Meanwhile, Rutgers is a traditional doormat despite being in talent-rich New Jersey – the program didn't have a winning record from 1993-2004 – but has had much more success of late under Greg Schiano and Kyle Flood. The Scarlet Knights averaged 8.3 wins per year from 2006-12 and captured a share of the Big East title the final year of that run before last year's 6-7 campaign.

In other sports, Maryland has often been a power in basketball – former Ohio State coach Gary Williams led the Terps to the 2001 NCAA title – and has a solid résumé in sports like men's soccer and men's lacrosse, while Rutgers has had success in women's basketball under legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer.

\"My hope is that being part of the Big Ten, that (the programs at Maryland and Rutgers) will elevate,\" Smith said. \"Maryland has a rich tradition in basketball and was dominant for a very long time, so hopefully that will increase. Rutgers had a good run in football. It wasn't consistent but they had a good run, so we can help them elevate. Anyway, it wasn't a popular decision, but I know for where we need to be down the road, it was the right decision. We couldn't go west very easily. So I feel good about where we are.\"

As for future expansion, Smith said he doesn't exact to see anything happening in that realm before his contract runs out at Ohio State in 2020.

\"Not in the near future, no,\" he said. \"Do I think it's going to happen down the road? Yeah. I'll be retired, sitting in the stands, screaming, talking to the officials. But I think down the road it'll probably happen again. It's just going to happen. There's television, the ability to keep the fan base growing in certain markets. Not all markets, but certain markets will say, ‘We need to do something different.' The Big 12 to me, they are very solid where they are with 10 schools, but will that continue to work over time? You never know.

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