You had to think that Maryland's departure from the ACC wouldn't be without some controversy. First, there was the ACC's suit against the Terps to enfore a $50 million league exit fee (a situation that has turned most of social media into legal scholars despite the fact that contract law is, like, sophisticated stuff that requires more than a class in business ethics at the local community college), an action that is likely to carry ramifications greater than to just Maryland depending on the outcome of the suit or (more likely) settlement. Now, people are being petulant in the newspapers. America rules!
In a story in today's The Chronicle, Duke's daily student newspaper, Duke president Richard Brodhead laid down the gauntlet -- Maryland, a founding member of the ACC, took sides against the family and Brodhead planted a big ol' wet one on the Terps' lips:
But stability is far from certain, as evidenced by Maryland’s surprise departure. And friends can quickly become adversaries, with the ACC filing suit against the Terrapins Monday regarding the $52 million exit fee required to leave the conference.
“They’re dead to me,” Brodhead joked. “They made that decision for their own reasons, and that’s their own business.”
This has been a concern since the beginning regarding Maryland's defection to the Big Ten. With potentially icy relationships existing with former ACC comrades -- just how "jokingly" did Brodhead make his statement with respect to the Terps? -- and no Big Ten lacrosse league existing to promise Maryland a free shot at getting an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, where will the Terps get enough games to maintain their current strength of schedule to put them in the conversation for an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament field? (As noted previously, if the Big Ten were to try an emulate a "fake" league like the ACC, the conference would be strong, but nowhere near as strong as the ACC (and Maryland's overall strength of schedule would concomitantly drop).) If the sentiments of Duke are echoed at Virginia, North Carolina, Syracuse, and Notre Dame, those are five big games that are no longer available to Maryland and can't really be replicated in totem elsewhere. Local powers Johns Hopkins and Loyola may still dot the Terps' slate, but adding a Penn State or Ohio State doesn't do the same kind of work as games against the Cavaliers or Blue Devils. In a shrunken at-large pool that only has a spot or two available for teams that aren't in the ACC or named Johns Hopkins, that's a dangerous situation.
The Terps may still be fine if they are to play as an independent or join the ECAC or THUNDERDOME!, but losing mega strength of schedule games against the league members of the most powerful lacrosse "conference" in the country doesn't come without ramifications. Maryland is already in a cold war with Georgetown, putting a moratorium on all games with the Hoyas. If the Terps also lose all games against former ACC opponents, the field of opportunity to play really good competition shrinks even more.