Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman, AD Dave Brandon on board for Maryland to the B1G
ANN ARBOR -- Maryland is joining the Big Ten, and Rutgers is reportedly ready to follow.
And Michigan seems prepared to welcome them both with open arms.
Though the Rutgers move has not been made official, Maryland was officially announced as the 13th member of the Big Ten Conference on Monday, a move that both Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman and Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon fully supported.
"What we admire so much about Maryland is not only its great athletic tradition, but also its great academic tradition," Coleman said on a teleconference. "As co-members of the AAU (Association of American Universities), we know Maryland extremely well and we like what we see.
"For us, for me, when I think about the kind of institutions I think it's important for us to play against, I view Maryland as an outstanding partner. We feel very positive about this move."
From a Michigan perspective, Brandon said adding Maryland to the schedule allows Michigan to tap into another very large alumni base in the Washington D.C. market.
"Selfishly, for Michigan, we have a tremendous amount of alums and supporters down there and they're going to be thrilled that the maize and blue are going to be traveling down there regularly," Brandon said on the Big Ten Network. "I think Maryland provides us with a great opportunity to connect with another great public institution, another top-20 public institution.
"It's not just about the great brands and traditions of basketball and football, but this is a great opportunity for the conference to expand and grow in an area that makes a lot of sense."
And, of course, the role of the Big Ten Network and it's ability to now expand into more markets also makes things enticing.
Brandon says increased revenues from TV shares only work to provide more funding for the entire athletic department.
And he hardly sees that as a bad thing.
"The media rights and the whole success story that is the Big Ten Network has been incredibly important to all of us," Brandon said. We're all out in the game of investing into our facilities. Michigan has recently announced a $300 million facilities expansion plan. We're constantly investing in capital, we're constantly covering costs of travel and coaching salaries and we need to maximize and leverage every revenue and line item we can to make it work.
"There's no big excess surpluses here, it's all being invested back into the program. The idea that we can expand our footprint, get more people excited about what we're doing, have more people watching on television and have more people buying tickets (all helps)."