Of buses and basketball

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You might recall Maryland’s football team will bus to and from Duke this weekend, a decision that saves an ultra-cost-conscious athletic department about $80,000.

It’s worth wondering whether those economic ailments will spread into the basketball program, which pays most of the bills in College Park and also (understandably) has one of the larger budgets in the department.

So that question came up when I chatted with coach Gary Williams this week.

“We’re trying to find creative ways where we don’t have to bus,” Williams said. “The way our league is set up, the Carolina teams have a tremendous advantage to start with anyway. With expansion, who knows now, but they may play three road games where they get to eat their own food and stay in their own bed every year, and we don’t. Anything we can do to try to keep it as even as possible – it’ll never be completely even – we’ll do. In other words, we have our budget, and we’re trying to find ways within the budget to keep the travel the same way.”

The “same way” is to travel via chartered flight for every road game except Virginia, which is a three-hour bus ride down Route 29. Maryland plays seven other conference road games (Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, N.C. State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest), two nonconference games (Indiana and UNC Greensboro) and the Maui Invitational.

So, more specifically, how do things stand at this point?

“We want to travel the same way we did last year, but we’re working within the budget to do that,” Williams said.

Just like everybody else these days.

Patrick Stevens

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