OK, LET'S QUICKLY run down the upside of the University of Maryland's sudden move to the Big Ten:
Yes, it's all about the money. So let me congratulate my misguided alma mater for being the latest winning contestant on "The Price Is Right."
"The University of Maryland, come on down!!!"
Man, they ran to the bank in a hurry with that first Big Ten check.
Sure, I understand that's it's a loot-first-ask-questions-later culture. But Maryland was in such a rush out the door, it didn't even bother to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference a Dear John letter.
This is how it went down:
A feckless Wallace D. Loh, university president, took an offer he couldn't refuse to the feckless university board of regents, which, after hearing Big Ten backing from feckless former men's basketball coach Gary Williams and the feckless student government body, then deliberated for, oh, 10 or 15 minutes before voting in favor of the proposal.
(Williams - who graduated 8 percent of his players from 1999 to 2003 because, well, that wasn't his charge as an educator on campus - is a $400,000-a-year university athletic-department employee; the chances he would publicly endorse this move, brought to him by the president and the athletic director, were 100 - no, maybe 105 - percent. And the student government there has about as much do with governing as college basketball has to do with college.)
This was a momentous decision, made in secret - almost certainly breaking state law, in violation of the Maryland Open Meetings Act - without any public discussion. Spiritually, it was a reprise of the Mayflower moving vans leaving Baltimore for Indianapolis in the dead of night in March 1984, only this time Loh was driving the big rigs.
Now, nobody is questioning the financial wisdom of Maryland's move - though it comes with a $50 million exit fee it now owes the ACC - and everybody is applauding the likely restoration of several non-revenue sports cut from the budget a year ago.
But sitting in my off-campus ivory tower, I must ask the same question I've asked before:
Is it possible for a great university not to have Division I athletics? Actually, I would argue it's preferable for a great university not to have Division I athletics.