Welcome to the Big 10 (14)


Dear Rutgers and Maryland,

As a lifelong fan of Big 10 (11) (12) B1G athletics—let’s not beat around the bush, football, men’s basketball and ice hockey—I wanted to write to welcome you to the conference.

Actually, let’s not beat around the bush about that, either. I don’t want you here and neither do a lot of my compatriots. We sort of got it when Lord Jim Delany added Nebraska—they had the requisite undeserved pompousness owing to ancient national titles, 8 months of bullshit weather and a shit-ton of corn. We could trust them to have deep-seated animosity toward people who live in nearly identical states with identical economies and populations simply because a territorial governor drew a border between us and them at some point.

“X state is a shithole, and everyone from it is shitty, because their sales tax is one cent higher than ours and dirtbags go there to buy cheap cigarettes.”

We embrace that sort of sentiment.

Your raison d’etre in this league, however, is clear and worthy of scorn. You’re here to boost the University of Michigan and Ohio State’s TV ratings in the New York and Washington, D.C. markets. You’re here to get our basketball tournaments moved to big, shiny East Coast arenas so Delany can please sir may I have another his precious sponsors and TV network. Understand that you lead a cynical existence in a league that has been able to ignore its own cynicism because the band’s been together for so long.

That’s probably why I hate you two so much.

Rutgers, I can get past the fact that you’re a commuter school that takes pride in being “New Jersey’s University” because being from a dirty parking lot with Appalachia out back is something to be stoked about? I can get past the fact that your wreck of an athletics department somehow snuck in to the company of Izzo and Meyer. I get it.

Maryland, where do I start? Your forgivable offenses include birthing Nike’s disgusting mini-me in Under Armour (spelled with that U because THIS IS OUR HOUSE just screams high-brow) and subjecting us to endless montages of a guy who snorted up some coke and died 30 years ago.

What I have a huge problem with both of you about is that you’re getting added to the fold like you’ve done something to deserve it other than existing in major media markets. You’re both getting home night games against the current and recent league champions this season, because somehow you’ve earned that. You’re both joining a league with a strong (if not, you know, currently relevant) football history while bringing none of your own to the table. Ray Rice. The B1G formed its own hockey league just last year out of its pieces of the old power conferences—I’m still slightly salty about that—and neither of you bring the great old game with you to bolster the six-team experiment. Rutgers basketball is pretty much a disaster and Maryland hasn’t been relevant in a handful of years.

You’re not Big Ten programs, but you’re here. Sit over in that corner and try not to screw anything up.

With extreme animosity,