|« FBS Arizona State "Pleased" Portland State Said Yes To 2010 Matchup||Portland State Releases 2010 Schedule »|
Bill Would Mandate Towson, Morgan St. Football Match-ups with FBS Maryland
Del. wants Terps to help smaller in-state FCS rivals financially.
The Terrapin football team is scheduled to play Morgan State this fall and Towson in 2011. But if a state legislator has his way, there might be rematches — a lot of them.
Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s) has introduced a bill requiring the Terps to play either Morgan State or Towson once every four years, arguing it would help fund the two smaller schools’ football programs. But university officials are opposing the bill, saying it would strip the Athletics Department of flexibility in scheduling and force it to subsidize the smaller programs.
“The university should be making its decisions on scheduling football, not the legislature,” university lobbyist Ross Stern said. “This really is stepping on the university’s autonomy.”
The Terps are generally regarded as the most prestigious football program in the state, but Walker said the state’s two Football Championship Series (formerly called Division 1-AA) teams would benefit financially and otherwise from playing their in-state ACC counterpart. Instead of playing out-of-state FCS schools, he said, the Terps should play the Tigers or the Bears.
“It’s definitely about keeping money in the state of Maryland,” said Walker, a former NFL quarterback who also works as a college football commentator for ESPN. “In the past two years, Maryland has played James Madison and Delaware, which are both FCS schools. We have two FCS schools right here in Maryland.
“Now we can have these schools play all the time, not just once in a lifetime,” added Walker, who starred for Howard University before playing for the New England Patriots, Barcelona Dragons and Minnesota Vikings as a professional in the 1990s.
When smaller programs such as Towson or Morgan State play BCS-conference schools, they’re generally paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so.
The proposed legislation would essentially mandate a transfer of funds from the Terp Athletics Department to those at Morgan State or Towson.
“I don’t think you need to legislate this,” Athletics Department Director Debbie Yow said. “It’s not about us, it’s about them. Right now, they have a lot of negotiating power. So when we call Towson or when we call Morgan State, they say, ‘Maybe, how much money you gonna pay us?’
“We obviously don’t need legislation,” she added. “We’ve scheduled both of them [for games]. I think it’s well intended … but his rationale was to help them financially.”
But Walker said the bill’s intent isn’t to restrict this university, and he would be willing to amend the bill to address Yow and Stern’s concerns. He also credited the university for scheduling two in-state games next year, against Navy and Morgan State.
The bill has six co-sponsors in the House of Delegates — mainly Towson and Morgan State alumni, Walker said — and a senator should introduce companion legislation in that body within the next few days. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Feb. 16.
Bill would mandate Towson, Morgan St. football match-ups
By Aaron Kraut and Kevin Robillard, The Diamondback Online (MD)