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Message from President Loh: Maryland Joins Big Ten Conference

November 19, 2012

Crystal Brown, UMD Chief Communications Officer: 301-405-4618;

Wallace Loh Dear University of Maryland community:

Today is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland.

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland has endorsed strongly our application to join the Big Ten conference, starting in academic year 2014-15.  The Council of Presidents of the Big Ten then approved our admission.

Membership in the Big Ten is in the strategic interest of the University of Maryland.  It will ensure the financial vitality of Maryland Athletics for decades to come.  It will enable us to reinstate some teams that were recently terminated due to budget deficits. We will have the capability to support better our student-athletes -- in the classroom and on the field -- and compete successfully at the highest levels.

Intercollegiate athletics is an integral part of our University.  It must be aligned with our academic values and priorities. We will earmark some of the new resources to support our University-wide educational missions and help make college more affordable for our students. This represents nothing less than a new financial paradigm for intercollegiate athletics at the University of Maryland.   

We wanted to join this athletic conference because we also wanted to join its associated academic consortium. The Big Ten institutions comprise the Committee on Institutional Cooperation. 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.  

Since leaving the Southern Conference in 1953, where we were a member since its inception 30 years earlier, we have been a proud founding member of the ACC.  Our long history has led to spirited sports rivalries and left indelible memories. More recently, the ACC has expanded into the Midwest.  But our early ACC traditions will remain forever a treasured part of the Terrapin story.

I understand that many devoted Terp fans may be stunned and disappointed at this news.  I recognize and regret the sadness they may feel at our leaving the ACC. It is the passing of an era.  To them, I ask only this:  please understand that I am doing what I believe is best for the University of Maryland and all of its stakeholders -- students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and sports fans.  I made this decision after due diligence and confidential consultation with some of our key constituencies.

As president, my responsibility is to advance the good of the entire University -- our academic excellence and financial well-being as well as the future of Maryland Athletics.  We are a premier land-grant and research university, situated in a vibrant metropolitan region next to our nation's capital.  Our roots are in the mid-Atlantic, but our institutional reach and impact today is also national and international. Membership in the Big Ten and the CIC offers opportunities that match our strategic purposes. We cannot let pass these opportunities.

The 21st century landscape of intercollegiate athletics is being transformed by demographics, technology, and the economic realities of big-time sports.  These forces are upending traditional boundaries.  Change is difficult, but we are in front of these changes.  As we begin a new chapter in our history, let us go forward together and create our future. We are all Terps. We are, proudly, the University of Maryland.

Thank you for your continuing support of the University of Maryland.


Wallace D. Loh
University of Maryland