Navy feeling bowled over by Maryland

Mids AD could block '10 game, but Terps defend '06 postseason choice

August 07, 2007|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,Sun reporter

College Park -- Maryland is interested in adding Navy to its football schedule in 2010, but Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said yesterday the Terps already had their chance to face the Midshipmen - last December - and turned their noses up at it.

Gladchuk said Navy is still feeling snubbed because the Terps opted for a bowl game in Orlando, Fla., instead of facing Navy in the Meineke Car Care bowl in Charlotte, N.C., last year.

"We were just very disappointed this past winter when we had a chance to play again in Charlotte, and Maryland decided to do something different," Gladchuk said. "It's confused us a little bit. We just haven't come to a conclusion right now with regard to 2010."

After a nine-win season, though, Maryland had the opportunity to play Purdue in the more lucrative Champs Sports Bowl - what is regarded by many as a more prestigious bowl than the one in Charlotte. The Champs Bowl is the No. 4 bowl in the pecking order, versus the sixth, and invitations are handed out in that same order. Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow and coach Ralph Friedgen said they chose the bowl the team wanted to go to.

Yow said she sent Gladchuk a letter about three weeks ago explaining Maryland's decision to play in Orlando.

"I shared with him Coach Friedgen's comments about our desire to be in Florida, and how it was directly related to the wishes of our team members," she said. "We talked to them and said to them, `Where do you want to go?' Overwhelmingly, they said, `We want to go to Florida.' I said naturally, we did what I think you would do, which is support your team. We wanted to deliver the bowl they were interested in going to. I said I would assume you would do the same thing in a similar set of circumstances."

Following the success of the 2005 game between Maryland and Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore - the only meeting between the programs in the past 42 years - Gladchuk and Yow spoke with enthusiasm about scheduling another game in the future.

"The stage was set for everything we had talked about, and all the good things that could have happened for fans - a big rematch, a bowl setting, a great city. ... It would have been a sellout in Charlotte," Gladchuk said, "and they decided to do something else that has caused us to pause a little bit and think through the whole relationship."

Friedgen was unsympathetic.

"He's got to get over it," Friedgen said. "Our kids wanted to go to Orlando as opposed to Charlotte. We had a great time. It really didn't have anything to do with Navy. Someday, I hope we go to the Meineke Bowl. We had a chance to go to a warm-weather bowl; that was what the team wanted to do. To me it's all the same. It's not like I get to hang out at the pool."

The 2005 Maryland-Navy game in Baltimore - a 23-20 victory for the Terps - drew more than 67,000 spectators and guaranteed more than $1 million each to the schools.

With the exception of 2005, Maryland has not played Navy since 1965. The rivalry between the neighboring schools became inflamed in 1964, though, when fights broke out on the field and in the stands during the infamous game after Terps linebacker Jerry Fishman gave the Midshipmen a one-fingered salute.

There was never an annual game between the neighboring programs, which are about 30 miles apart, but Navy owns the series 14-6, dating to 1905.

Yow said she would like to settle the issue within the next four to six weeks. Asked what his time frame was, Gladchuk said, "My timetable was Charlotte in December.

"All the reasons we played the first time, all the justifications why it was such an important game for our collective communities, and then when we had a chance to do it again, they decided to go to Orlando and play Purdue. What's that all about? We're a little confused. It's something we're still grappling with here and trying to sort out their thought process."

Said Yow: "Maryland respects the Navy tradition and would enjoy a rematch in Baltimore in 2010."

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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