The Wolverine

January 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Maryland has a proud wrestling tradition. Since the program was founded in 1940, the Terrapins have posted a 580-322-22 record (.633 winning percentage). They have earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament 49 times and won 24 ACC crowns. On a championship level, Maryland has claimed two all-time individual national championships, 196 individual ACC championships and 25 All-America selections. Head coach Kerry McCoy, a former wrestler at Penn State, is 60-17 in four years with the program. Rutgers comes from the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (the Big East does not sponsor the sport), so the jump up to the Big Ten will be a big one. The Scarlet Knights have had nine All-America selections (none since 2002). Since head coach Scott Goodale took over the program four years ago, Rutgers has sent 20 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships and 22 have placed in the EIWA Championships. "It will be great for Rutgers and Maryland," Michigan head coach Joe McFarland said. "Both those coaches have done a tremendous job at their respective schools. I think it will only make their programs better, and it will make the conference better. I see it as a win-win situation." McFarland is interested in how the conference will adapt to having 14 teams, because there are eight intraconference dual meets each season. He has spoken with the wrestling liaison at the Big Ten office, and the discussions will continue at the coaches' meetings in the spring. "With 14 teams, you'd almost have to go to two divisions of seven," McFarland said, speculatively. "You'd wrestle six in your division and then two crossovers, maybe some traditional rivalries you hit, sort of like what football has done. I don't know if we will go down that path or not." Women's Gymnastics From a sheer numbers standpoint, perhaps no sport has benefitted more from the Big Ten's expansion than women's gymnastics. Before Nebraska joined the fold last year, just seven teams in the conference had a team: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. When Rutgers and Maryland officially join, there will be 10 women's gymnastics teams. "I think they are going to be nice additions to the conference," Michigan head coach Bev Plocki said. "I was happy to see that the teams that were added to the Big Ten do sponsor women's gymnastics. The fact that we are going to have 10 teams in the conference now is really going to help our sport." Rutgers second-year head coach Lou Levine is keenly aware of the gymnastics culture in the Midwest. He is a Michigan alumnus who was a vaulting specialist on the 1999 national championship and 2000 Big Ten championship squads. After graduation, he spent three years (2002-04) as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator for the Wolverines. Maryland has earned a spot in an Possible Candidates For Future Expansion Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has not discussed whether the league will expand even further than 14 teams, but that is the way major college athletics seems to be trending. Who are some of the teams who could show up on the conference's radar, should another round of expansion hit the Big Ten? Notre Dame: Any time the discussion of Big Ten expansion is mentioned, the Fighting Irish will undoubtedly come up, even though they have repeatedly expressed their desire to remain independent in football. Notre Dame's national brand recognition would give the Big Ten Network enormous opportunities. Georgia Tech: With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, the Big Ten expanded into the enormous television markets of the Washington, D.C./Baltimore and New York City areas. Not only would the Yellow Jackets give the conference a presence in the South, but also they are located in the heart of Atlanta — the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the country by population. Virginia: As one of the premier public institutions in the country, Virginia would fit perfectly with the Big Ten ethos, and adding another team in the vicinity of Washington, D.C., would bolster the Big Ten's foothold in the market. North Carolina: North Carolina ranks 30th in the latest U.S. News national university rankings, one spot below Michigan, and would be a great addition from that aspect. The Tar Heels would also extend the Big Ten's reach further down the eastern seaboard, into the South. Florida State: After flirting with the Big 12 in the last bout of conBrady Hoke and the Wolverines would likely welcome Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish to the Big Ten with open arms, if ference expansion, the Seminoles appear to be somewhat on the ACC-bound Notre Dame reverses course and decides that it fence about the ACC. Florida State would give the Big Ten a bigger national footprint, in competitiveness, prestige and geography. does not need to remain independent in football. photo by lon horwedel — Andy Reid 68  the wolverine    January 2013

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