As you’ve probably read elsewhere, Rutgers and Maryland recently agreed to leave the Big East and ACC respectively, enticed by the television riches of the Big Ten. Acknowledging the Terrapins’ windfall (as well as a likely violation of the Maryland Open Meetings act), the Washington Post’s Norman Chad (above) argues, “it’s preferable for a great university not to have Division I athletics.”
Remarkably, Spelman College in Atlanta just made this very decision, announcing its withdrawal from Division III intercollegiate athletics. “Hoping to replace organized sports for the few with fitness for all,” as the New York Times put it, Spelman determined it made little sense to spend $1 million annually on 80 student-athletes when it could redirect time and money to the physical welfare of the entire 2,100-student body.
I realize my College Park brethren — who refuse to rise and revolt against the athletic industrial complex that rules the day — will reject this option. So I have a more pragmatic proposal that keeps Maryland in the ACC and solves the fiscal crisis:
Open a casino on campus!
(You don’t even have to recruit “student-gamblers” — they’re already there.) Maryland voters just approved Las Vegas-style table-games gambling. Replace vending machines with slot machines and library tables with blackjack tables, and we’re talking a new weight room for the football team within 18 months!!!
At a minimum, I’d open a card room in the student union. Heck, the gent who just won the World Series of Poker Main Event, Greg Merson, briefly went to Maryland. So let’s break ground on the Greg Merson Poker Room — of course, first I’d make him come back to College Park and complete his degree.