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Maryland’s Quick Move to Big Ten Troubles Some Regents

Maryland regents approved the university’s move to the Big Ten Conference on Monday, but not all of them were happy about how the deal went down.

C. Thomas McMillen, a former Maryland basketball standout and one of 17 University System of Maryland regents, said he had voted against the proposal and was “particularly opposed” to the process that led to the decision. The university had two days to decide whether to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which it was a founding member, and a confidentiality clause prevented university leaders from talking to people with a stake in the decision.

“I thought that something as monumental as this should take more time,” Mr. McMillen told The Chronicle. “I thought the players, the coaches—even the ACC, which we have been involved with for 60 years—should be a part of the decision.”

“These conferences and commissioners basically hold these institutions of higher learning hostage, and run very secretive, truncated processes,” he said. “In the long run it’s a very, very bad development for college sports and universities.”

“I think players have every right to be upset about this,” he added. “They are the indentured servants in this process.”

Mr. McMillen would not go into detail about the vote but confirmed that it was not unanimous. “I voted against it,” he said, “but I don’t want to get into particulars.”

Mr. McMillen, a former member of Congress, also did not want to discuss the merits of the proposal. “The substance of the issues can be argued both ways,” he said, “but we only heard one side in a two-day, truncated period.”

He said the fast deadline shortchanged the university.

“If I were a policy maker in government, I would be taking a hard look at this right now,” he said. “I don’t think these conferences should be telling our great universities how to handle their governance matters.”

Update (11/19/2012, 8:26 p.m.): C. Thomas McMillen is the brother of Liz McMillen, The Chronicle’s editor, which this post initially did not disclose.

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