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Some Perspective On Terrapin Turpitude

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We Call It Like We See It

Mar 13, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jonathan Graham (25) reacts after the game. The Seminoles defeated the Terrapins 67-65 in the second round of the ACC college basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.
Mar 13, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jonathan Graham (25) reacts after the game. The Seminoles defeated the Terrapins 67-65 in the second round of the ACC college basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Dave over at Testudo Times sent us this link and suggested we might want to read and share: fair enough.

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We should start by drawing some distinctions. We realize Maryland fans are  passionate, but not all Maryland fans are insane. Many fans do not throw heated pennies or full water bottles or rush out to U.S. 1 to get in on the riot.

Along the same lines, when we - and we're going to take the liberty to speak for ACC fans at large here - say we're angry with Maryland, we're not angry with everyone at Maryland. We know lots of fans are pretty much like fans anywhere - they live and die with the Terps and that we can understand.  We grok it dude. Completely.

But what's been upsetting is not necessarily that Maryland decided to make a move for financial reasons - as Dave rightly notes, people do that all the time - but the way it was done, as much as anything, was offensive.

The people at Maryland who were responsible for the decision first of all were dishonest with their conference colleagues and partners.  Secondly, and more shamefully, they were dishonest with the citizens of Maryland, to the point that open public meeting laws were completely ignored. Why? Because given a chance, Maryland fans would have strangled this in its crib - so Wallace Loh and his partners in crime (quite literally) chose to operate in secret, sign the deal - and only then announce it. Everyone involved was betrayed.

How else can you put it?

Moreover, blindsiding the ACC, coming as it did at a moment of maximum turmoil, Maryland's move briefly threatened to blow the entire conference apart.

But here's the thing: at the same time, Florida State was looking around. Clemson was being courted, and we're sure Georgia Tech was as well. Miami probably had options had the 'Canes chosen to exercise them. Virginia Tech too. Virginia was mentioned.

For that matter - standard caveat, no one talks to us about stuff like this - we're sure Duke and UNC were approached, together, by the SEC and the Big Ten. Who wouldn't want to add Duke and UNC and all the attention that gets? Taking one would be like getting Bonnie and no Clyde. It's a set.

No one else did what Maryland did.

The argument continues: the ACC is not what it used to be.

Well, yes, and that's quite sad to us, too. We much preferred an eight-team league which was focused on basketball. As John Swofford warned, though, we were about to enter a period of consolidation and would see major conferences reduced to a handful, all substantially bigger, and smaller conferences, including a smaller ACC, would have been picked apart for precisely the reason Dave suggests: the bottom line.

That's come to pass, too, and we might remember wrong, but we think Maryland voted for expansion both times. Certainly the Terps did the first time since Duke and UNC were the only schools to vote no.

Maryland's refusal to go along with the increased exit fee, in retrospect, was obviously the university being proactive about the looming move: damned if we're paying that.

It was dishonorable and underhanded and Maryland, in essence, after putting the rest of the ACC in existential danger wanted to get out without consequence.

Is it any wonder people were pissed?

Certainly the university is entitled to seek a better deal, and given the disastrous finances, maybe it's a good idea. But look at how it was handled.

And then after that, the endless moaning about not playing Duke or UNC anymore, which was what Coach K was responding to. What the hell? Maryland, as usual, wants it both ways: they were willing to screw the ACC - and they nearly did - but by the way, why not maintain the ACC rivalries we cherish in College Park? Give us the money and the good games.

That's ludicrous. First, Maryland isn't about to schedule two or three  potential non-conference losses. The Big Ten is hard enough. But second, what's the motivation for the rest of us? You screwed us, or gave it your best shot, and we're supposed to overlook that? Reward that?

Sorry. It's either Duke and UNC or the money and Rutgers and Penn State. That's the "business decision" Maryland made and that's the price you pay.

There's one final thing to point out, and we don't mean to slam Dave, who's probably a good guy. But the logic here is specious. The one more thing is the notion of Maryland as an outsider. We've never completely understood it, honestly.

Yes, four schools are in North Carolina. But we knew who you were. We knew who Mo Howard was. We were terribly saddened when Chris Patton, Owen Brown and Len Bias died.

On TV the day we learned about the Bias death, we saw Johnny Dawkins and other Triangle ACC players, clearly shaken. It hit us very hard.

And despite his occasional buffoonishness, we loved Lefty Driesell - a Duke man in case you forgot.

No one who saw the ACC Tournaments in 1973 or 1974 ever forgot how great Maryland and State were. And just as we worried about David Thompson and Phil Ford's health when addiction got them, we worried about John Lucas too. We took a certain amount of pride in Tom McMillen's accomplishments after his playing days ended.

Because even though there was tension, even though Maryland fans loved to remind us they felt left out, we always paid attention. Admittedly, we didn't understand the depth of your feelings (and if you hate Duke and UNC that much then leaving is probably smart), but that's more because we didn't share it.

In the big picture though, most ACC fans have a sense of family and Maryland was part of that.

It's okay that you don't want to be part of it anymore, And it's okay if you make a lot of money in the Big Ten, although the ACC has long-term advantages that will become clear over time, which is a big part of why John Swofford was able to get everyone to make a serious commitment by signing over media rights.

But don't try and blame anyone else. A small group of people at Maryland made the decision, broke the law to make it, in fact, forced it on unwilling fans, teams and coaches and endangered their former friends and partners. Who else could possibly be to blame? Why wouldn't people be hurt and angry?