Irish coach Mike Brey is stunned by Maryland's jump to the Big Ten
The University of Maryland announced Nov. 19 it is leaving the leave the Atlantic Coast Conference and join the Big Ten in 2014 in order to bolster its bank account. Rutgers followed suit the next day, leaving the patchwork Big East and becoming the Big Ten’s 14th member.
Notre Dame had the same idea earlier this fall, choosing to exit the Big East and transfer all sports other than hockey and football to the ACC. For Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey, a native of Rockville, Md., and grew up following the Terrapins, the exit is disconcerting. Before Notre Dame has even had a chance to compete in the ACC, which is expected in 2014, one of the original members of the basketball-rich league has bolted.
“Growing up a Maryland fan, that is still hard for me to wrap my brain around, you know, with those ACC rivalries,” Brey said. “All the guys I grew up with and went to the Maryland basketball camp with have been checking in with me last night and today. It’s hard to picture. I was kind of looking forward to going back there and playing.”
Brey, who back in September echoed the sentiment of Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick in believing Notre Dame’s addition to the ACC would only help prop up the league in an era of widespread realignment, now isn’t sure what to think.
“Famous last words,” Brey said. “I think I said at some point after we made our decision [to join the ACC], I think things are going to stabilize now. Yeah. So stay tuned. Is the ACC stable? Are we okay? What are we doing here? It’s an interesting time. I’d still like to know when we’re going to play in the ACC. We still don’t know that. Is it next year or is it two years? I think we’re all kind of watching that league now.”