'What's done is done,' Len Elmore says of Maryland and Big Ten

Former Terps basketball star says school must keep broadening revenue base

September 09, 2014|By Jeff Barker | The Baltimore Sun

When the news broke nearly two years ago that Maryland was likely headed for the Big Ten, former Terps basketball star Len Elmore was among the first to raise concerns.

Elmore, an ESPN college basketball analyst and attorney, openly wondered whether the lure of Big Ten money truly outweighed leaving behind the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which Maryland was a founding member. He also worried about the hit the school could take from the ACC’s exit fee.

This week, Elmore – in Washington for a meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, of which he is a member – revisited the topic.

“What’s done is done and I’m hopeful that things turn out better,” Elmore said of Maryland, which has been grappling with budget issues.

He said Maryland needs to continue to broaden its revenue base so it is not relying so much on football and men’s basketball as money makers.

“My wish was that they had given it more thought and been a little more innovative prior to making that [Big Ten] deal and finding ways to get out from under that deficit, that’s all,” Elmore said in an interview.

Elmore and West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said during the meeting that schools could take pressure off the revenue-generating sports by charging fans nominal admissions fees for the so-called “Olympic” sports.

For the first time, Maryland -- following the example of other Big Ten schools -- is charging this season for tickets to volleyball games ($6 for adults, $4 for youths) and wrestling matches ($10 for adults, $5 for youths for most matches). Group discounts are available, as are $99 season passes to all Olympic sports events.

“If they know what they’re paying for and the prices aren’t prohibitive, people will be willing to spend the money,” Elmore said.

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