In anticipation of University of Maryland head football coach Randy Edsall’s firing, now a fait accompli, Walt had submitted the following recollections about Maryland and the connection with Penn State head football coach James Franklin.
Remember that James Franklin was named the coach-in-waiting and was supposed to be [Ralph] Friedgen’s successor but when Kevin Anderson was hired as AD, Anderson said publicly he didn’t agree with coach-in-waiting agreements, and the uncertainty of whether he would succeed Friedgen, along with uncertainty over when Friedgen would retire, was a big reason Franklin took the Vandy job. If Anderson had just said that he would honor the coach-in-waiting agreement Franklin likely would have stayed at Maryland.
Maryland left the ACC for two major reasons:
Reason #1) The Terps Athletic program was millions in the hole and profusely bleeding in the red. Every time the ACC gave the petty bailouts the Terps needed and asked the ACC for more money. FSU and Clemson were upset about the ACC sharing additional payouts to underachieving league teams like Maryland and threatened to leave the league. The ACC panicked and gave Maryland the bad news that no more welfare payments could be made to them at the expense of FSU and Clemson, who were going to major bowls after winning seasons. Maryland was forced to cut their athletic program budget to the bone and succeeded to the BIG 10+4 for a few dollars more and a big upfront bailout from the Big 10.
Reason #2) The ACC raided what was left of the Big East Conference and expanded to 14 teams in a feeble attempt to keep up with the SEC’s expansion acquisitions of Missouri and aTm. The teams the ACC added really didn’t help their football profile. Syracuse and Pitt were added to enhance the ACC’s basketball profile. Cash-strapped Maryland resented that move because they knew it would have to have more money to compete in a overcrowded ACC basketball conference.The choice was simple for the broke Terps, stay in the ACC and become the worst in the conference in football and basketball or run to the Big Money, Big 10 and get on the entitlement program there. Maryland broke from 60 years of ACC tradition and ran to the Big10, who really wanted UNC, UVA, or Georgia Tech in their initial offer to breakup the ACC in revenge for the ACC signing up Notre Dame as a non-football member. Thus the Big 10 settled with obtaining the little brothers of the poor, Maryland Terps, when all attempts to obtain the Tar Heels, Cavaliers, or Yellowjackets fell through.