Maryland conference switch aided by fake online comments

Big Ten commissioner James Delany speaks at a news conference to announce the University of Maryland's decision to move to the Big Ten last November.

Faced with a predicted overwhelmingly negative reaction to its move from the ACC to the Big 10, the University of Maryland employed a public relations strategy to plant positive comments on fan message boards and lobby sports media pundits.

According to a report in The Baltimore Sun, the University hired outside professional help in generating posts on message boards, comment sections and blogs praising the switch in athletic conferences. Those posts were intended to balance out fans reacting "emotionally and negatively." The University also paid consultants to praise media members who made positive comments on the conference switch and chastise those who were critical.

Read more from The Baltimore Sun.

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