July 1: Maryland begins journey into Big Ten

July 1: Maryland begins journey into Big Ten
July 1, 2014, 6:00 am
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COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon walked into an auxiliary team meeting room at Comcast Center, down past rows of cushioned chairs as he moved his eyes toward the arrangement set up before him at the head of the room.

One television camera, an assortment of spotlights, and two opposing stools upon which to sit, positioned before of a black cloth backdrop, peppered with Maryland logos and something more foreign -- the conference markings of the Big Ten.

"That looks great," Turgeon said with a smirk, shaking hands and affixing a microphone to his shirt. "Who set that up?"

He was asking who physically set up the backdrop in front of which he was now seated -- that was the work of the athletic communications staff, and fine work at that -- but what got those marking there, the people who set that up, is the reason July 1 is significant at Maryland.

Turgeon is one of the the main faces of the transition, along with head football coach Randy Edsall, university president Wallace Loh, and athletic director Kevin Anderson.

It has been a transition long in the making, following story lines, then rehashes of story lines, then rehashes of rehashed story lines.

There was a pre-farewell tour after the news first became official toward the end of 2012. Then there was a final farewell tour in 2013-14, when every pregame question from the media included "tradition" or some close synonym and ended with "....playing them for the last time."

Turgeon's Terrapins got the shortest end of the stick, forced to go on the road last season to North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Duke. They welcomed teams at home like Miami, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame, then Virginia in the finale.

That's like one last Guns N' Roses tour with no recognizable members and they didn't play "Paradise City" or "Welcome to the Jungle" but they ended with "November Rain".

How mad could you be? You're conflicted.

And now we're here, July 1, with Maryland being handed a financial coin that has two sides.

The school is still divorcing its ex-conference, but having to do it in a way much uglier than the way you ultimately got your sweatpants and coffee maker back from the person who last broke your heart.

The university and the ACC continue to be tied up in court over a $52 million exit fee, a lawsuit that could very well have existential implications for the conference and serious economic ones for the school as Maryland simultaneously scampers away to the Big Ten.

Scampering toward what appears to be a massive payday, though, enough to flood the parking lot at Comcast Center and have that rushing current of bills carry cars careening down Route 1.

That's the hope.

According to projections released earlier this year, 12 of the 14 member schools in the Big Ten are slated to bring home $44.5 million each by 2017-18. Maryland and Rutgers will begin to fully tap that financial pipeline once they become full members in 2020-21, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

It starts to make the ACC exit fee look like a pesky, irksome toll on the highway Maryland finds itself roaring down, where the biggest inconvenience is that you've got to slow down to 15 miles per hour to pay it.

That looks great. Who set that up?