Longtime University of Maryland, College Park, alumnus and supporter Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said Thursday that university President Wallace D. Loh consulted with him about the impending move to the Big Ten Conference a few weeks ago.
“Obviously I had mixed emotions,” said Miller (D-Dist 27) of Chesapeake Beach, a regular at the school’s athletic events. “I’m concerned about the traditions, but I’m also a businessman. I understand economics, and I also understand what’s happening to [college athletic] conferences across the entire country.”
Loh announced last week that Maryland would leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Midwest-based Big Ten. Maryland has been a charter member of the ACC for nearly 60 years.
Miller said he told Loh that he was on board with the move as long as other university administrators approved. “President Loh could not possibly turn down that opportunity,” Miller said.
The unique place of the university in a region dominated by professional sports, which often take up the attention and expendable income of sports fans, made the move essential, he said.
“It’s very different than if you’re in Clemson, South Carolina, and you’re the only game in town,” Miller said.
The Senate president also weighed in on the $50 million lawsuit filed against Maryland by the ACC, predicting it likely will be settled out of court with a confidential settlement, closer to the exit fee of $20 million before the amount was raised in September.
He plans to remain a big-time supporter of Maryland athletic programs and is looking forward to new rivals, Miller said.
— Holly Nunn