The Washington Times - October 12, 2007, 02:55PM

\ When it’s a scrimmage against another Division I team – like the one Maryland will play on Nov. 3.\

\ First some background. The general concept of the exhibition season was turned upside down a few years ago when the NCAA banned teams from playing non-collegiate clubs – Athletes in Action, the Australian All-Stars, EA Sports All-Stars and the like. Some folks might remember the uproar from a few years back related to Connecticut’s recruitment of Rudy Gay, which was the impetus for the rule change.\


\ That left schools to scrape together games against Division II and Division III teams, as well as Canadian schools. A year ago, Maryland played two exhibitions before rolling into its regular season schedule. Such luminaries as Bryant (aka Mike Pressler U.), Lehman, St. Francis Xavier and California (Pa.) have dotted the Terps’ recent exhibition slates.\

\ Which brings us to the present. If you look at Maryland’s schedule, the first game listed is a Nov. 7 exhibition against Concordia University. In reality, the first competitive situation the Terps will encounter is a Nov. 3 visit from Temple. But beyond acknowledging the scrimmage’s existence when asked, there is little else the Terps can or will do to promote it.\

\ It’s a closed scrimmage, so fans and media need not apply (don’t worry, I’ll be in Chapel Hill, N.C., for a football game that day, anyway). There will be no official statistics kept, and no releases sent out to describe the details.\

\ It’s a practice that has become increasingly common in lieu of an exhibition. Maryland assistant Chuck Driesell told me yesterday when he coached under Craig Esherick at Georgetown, the Hoyas scrimmaged Princeton before the season.\

\ The reasons? Presumably so that coaches can have greater control, so that a learning environment can be maintained rather than simply create a scorekeeping situation and to provide a higher level of competition than a much smaller program might provide. Put together, it makes a world of sense.\

\ One bonus for fans: It’s one less thing for season-ticket holders to pay for. There are few lousier bargains than forking over money for a ticket and parking to an exhibition game, let alone two.\

\ So the first you’ll see of Maryland against another opponent is Nov. 7. But rest assured, that extra exhibition game didn’t entirely disappear.\

\ – Patrick Stevens