By MATT SUGAM & ADAM ZAGORIA
Goodbye, ACC, and goodbye, Big East.
Maryland and Rutgers are headed to the Big Ten in 2014.
Maryland’s Board of Regents voted unanimously to leave the ACC and go to the Big Ten.
“Today is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland,” said Maryland university president Wallace D. Loh. “Membership in the Big Ten Conference is in the strategic interest of the University of Maryland. It will not only ensure the financial vitality of Maryland Athletics for decades to come, but the extensive opportunities in the CIC for collaborations with our peer AAU and flagship universities in education, research, and innovation will boost the University of Maryland’s ascendancy in academic excellence.”
“The Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome the University of Maryland to the Big Ten Conference,” said COP/C Chair and University of Iowa President Sally Mason. “The University of Maryland is one of the premier public research universities in the country and represents a natural alignment with our other member institutions. Their top-ranked academic and athletic programs will be a tremendous addition to our conference.”
Maryland still must come up with the $50 million exit fee to leave the ACC. Maryland and Florida State were the only schools to vote against the fee, but lost the vote.
“Since the (ACC’s) inception, they have been an outstanding member of our conference and we are sorry to see them exit,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford told McMurphy.
Rutgers, a member of the Big East since 1991, is expecting a Big Ten invitation today and will follow with a similar announcement on Tuesday, according to The Star-Ledger. ESPN.com first reported the news.
Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti, meantime, has the authority to accept an invitation from the Big Ten, should it come, the Ledger reported.
“Under normal circumstances, (the board of governors) would give the athletic director and the president the authority to act on their behalf,” Rutgers president Robert Barchi told the paper. “We do that with union contracts, we do that with a whole range of things.”
The Big Ten would then have 14 teams with the additions of schools from Maryland and New Jersey. The Big Ten Network would now have access to the TV markets in the Washington D.C. and New York/New Jersey areas.
Rutgers would be the ninth team since 2004 to leave the Big East. Their buyout from the Big East would be $10 million and they would have to give 27 months notice.
However, the Big East allowed West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse to leave earlier than the 27-month requirement by paying a higher exit fee. The aforementioned schools paid a fee of $20 million.
On the basketball front, the Big East, which this year has 15 basketball teams, will have 18 next year and 17 in the 2014-15 season, assuming UConn and Louisville remain in the league, which is a big if at this point.
By leaving the ACC, Maryland will no longer have league games against traditional rivals Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State, while Rutgers would no longer play Seton Hall, St. John’s, UConn and Villanova in Big East play.
Photo: Mark Gail/MCT