Delegate aims to block Big 10 funding -- Gazette.Net


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While some Maryland lawmakers are lamenting the loss of tradition in the move of the University of Maryland to the Big 10 Conference, one delegate is trying to prevent any loss of money that could come from the move.

Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Dist 7) of Middle River, said he is prefiling a bill that would prohibit any funding from the General Assembly to go toward the move.

“We are hearing that they have a $50 million fee to leave the [the Atlantic Coast Conference], and there are questions about whether they’ll have to spend money to fit the standards of the Big 10,” McDonough said. “I want to prevent any bonding or debt to create new facilities.”

The move to the Big 10 was announced by university President Wallace D. Loh on Nov. 19. A lawsuit filed against the university by the ACC followed, as the conference pursues a $50 million exit fee set in September, up from $20 million. Loh is opposed to the high fee and has said that it likely would not be upheld in court.

At a news conference to announce the move, Loh headed off concerns about the cost by saying that the athletic department is self-funded and that no taxpayer dollars would be used.

University spokesman Brian Ullmann confirmed Thursday that the exit fee would be paid from athletic department revenues.

“Our athletics program is responsible for all of its own expenses; it receives no state funds,” Ullmann wrote in an email.

But McDonough said that because the decision to move the university to the Big 10 was done behind closed doors, he has questions about how the transfer will be paid for.

“They are a taxpayer-funded institution,” McDonough said. “Frankly, I don’t see how they could have made a decision without consulting the General Assembly.”

Loh said at the Nov. 19 news conference that the attorney general approved the actions of the Board of Regents as having followed the relevant laws.

hnunn@gazette.net