By: Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell
The University of Maryland and Rutgers University recently made national headlines, surprising all college sports fans, when they both accepted invitations to join the Big Ten Conference.
On Monday, November 19, 2012, Maryland’s Board of Regents voted to accept the invitation to join the Big Ten, and leave the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). All competition within the Big Ten will begin during the 2014-15 academic year.
On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Rutgers University made their announcement, that they too would join, becoming the Big Ten’s fourteen member. The Rutgers Board of Governors had passed the vote on November 19, which gave Athletic Director Tim Pernetti the authorization to accept the invitation to the Big Ten and leave the Big East conference.
According to a press release, the University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh said, “Today is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland, membership in Big Ten Conference is in strategic interest of [University of] Maryland.” Maryland is only the second school to leave ACC. The first to do so was South Carolina in 1971, when they departed and became independent.
In response to Maryland’s departure, the ACC’s Commissioner, John Swofford, sent his best wishes to Maryland, and even stated that, “Since [the ACC’s] inception, [Maryland] have been an outstanding member of [the] conference and we are sorry to see them exit.” Furthermore, Maryland will pay a $50 million exit fee to the ACC.
Both schools will join Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Indiana in the Leaders Division of the Big Ten Conference.
The Big Ten is best known for its football programs, yet Maryland and Rutgers may add to its prestige by bringing along their great basketball programs as well. When Maryland leaves the ACC, its basketball program will say goodbye to some long-storied rivalries with North Carolina State, Duke, and University of North Carolina. Maryland basketball coach, Mark Turgeon, welcomes this move and stated, “It doesn’t change anything – we’re going from one great league to another.”
Both Maryland and Rutgers will welcome the additional dollars that will come along with being members of the Big Ten. According to Kristi Dosh of ESPN, Maryland had a deficit of $473,482 in 2010-2011, even with despite $9.5 million in student fees and $6.4 million in institutional support. Rutgers needed even more help to break even, taking in $9 million in student fees and $19.4 million in institutional support.
Both the ACC and Big East will be looking to find replacement teams to fill the void left by Maryland and Rutgers, respectively.