- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Given the way last season ended, having the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments canceled, the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Maryland men’s basketball team’s first Big Ten regular season title was restricted to one night — confetti flying as the team raised a trophy at the Xfinity Center following the regular season finale.

After that, as the novel coronavirus spread, many of the Terrapins went their separate ways. But on Oct. 16, players and staff gathered at Xfinity Center to receive a lasting memento, one they could carry around with them as a reminder of their regular season championship.

That memento: a blinged-out ring that cost $265 each, a university spokesperson told The Washington Times. The ring features the state flag, name personalization for players and coaches, a replica of the trophy and the team’s 24-7 record.

Maryland ordered 45 rings for athletes, student managers, graduate assistants, coaches and staff. That brings the total to $11,925. The university spokesperson said the rings were purchased by the athletic department through external revenue — fundraised money and sponsorships.

As the coronavirus disrupts how sports across the country are operating, postponing certain sports and limiting fan attendance, athletic departments are faced with significant budget shortfalls.

In the Big Ten, only a limited number of family members are allowed inside stadiums during the modified football season, cutting out a key piece in revenue projections; at Maryland, 14 percent of its projected 2020-21 revenue would have come from ticket sales, according to a graphic on its website.

The athletic department projects a loss of between $35 million and $65 million from its projected revenue because of the pandemic, with the precise number contingent on how much of the football season can be played.

To compensate for some of the loss of revenue due to the virus, the athletic department has enacted hiring and budget freezes, as well as salary cuts for staffers at certain levels. Maryland also announced a major fundraising campaign in September with the aim to raise nearly $90,000. With four days remaining in the crowdfunding campaign, supporters have raised $55,956.

The university spokesperson confirmed the women’s basketball team — which won the 2019-20 Big Ten regular season and conference tournament titles — will also receive rings.

It’s commonplace for championship-winning programs to receive commemorative rings. In the recent past, the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs received rings in 2017 for each winning the national title, while the men’s soccer team earned a piece of hardware for its 2018 national championship.


Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide