Let’s face the facts: A monumental factor for why people recognize McDaniel College (and the city of Westminster for that matter) is that the Baltimore Ravens hold training camp on the campus. Ravens enthusiasts come from far and wide to see the all-world defense grind through the hot summer days led by the frighteningly motivating voice of Ray Lewis. Onlookers gawk at the NFL’s top tier running back Ray Rice dash over, under, and through un-expecting rookies.
Yet, as of Dec. 2, 2011, McDaniel College will no longer be hosting the black and purple. The team will now be playing their preseason football at Ravens home base in Owings Mills.
According to a Ravens press release, the move was prompted by a number of reasons including insufficient practice facilities (such as no indoor field), limited space for team meetings, and issues with not being able to have two-a-days due to the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Many people on both sides of the field, McDaniel and the Ravens organization, are sentimental about the decision. Mary Jo Colbert, Director of Conference and Auxiliary Services here at McDaniel, said remorsefully, “this is where the Ravens have always trained (the past 15 years) and I am sad to see them go… it feels like a loss.”
During a press conference, even Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti spoke about how his love for football began watching the team practice in Westminster as a child.
Senior business major and avid Ravens fan Greg Bowman, remembers his initial attraction to the college: “Aside from the golf program, the Ravens training camp was a big reason why I decided to come to McDaniel… It’s too bad to see them go.”
Ethan Seidel, Vice President for Administration and Finance, dealt with the Ravens relationship with the college. He recognized the lure of Ravens camp for high school seniors looking at McDaniel, but he also is aware that now that the Ravens have left they are gone, for good.
The departure of the Ravens training camp at McDaniel will not burden the college financially at all, yet we will see an impact on the public relations end, said Seidel.
“The Ravens coaching staff had to weigh performance against PR, and the coaches thought there was a lack of concentration,” Seidel said.
“Westminster businesses, especially restaurants and the Best Western, will hurt financially because many families vacationed to Westminster to see the Ravens practice. Where the College will take a big hit is from a publicity standpoint,” continued Seidel.
The Ravens are not the only NFL being forced to move away from the respective colleges or universities because of the CBA. 19 NFL organizations, including AFC North opponents, the Cincinnati Bengals will be moving camp to their home facilities. The Bengals also will be ending a 15-year relationship with their college counterpart, Georgetown College. The only AFC North team to continue training away from home will be the Pittsburg Steelers, who spend their summers in Latrobe, PA at St. Vincent’s College.