The Maryland Terrapins and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will each join the Big Ten Conference, ESPN has reported.
The University of Maryland’s Board of Regents voted today to accept an invitation to join the Big Ten. An official announcement will be made by the school at 3 p.m. ET. The Big Ten Network will follow with a special report at 4 p.m.
The Terrapins will join the Big Ten for the 2014 football season after playing their final season in the ACC next year. There is a $50 million fee to leave the ACC, but is is expected that Maryland will attempt to negotiate that price down.
Maryland was a charter member of the ACC in 1953. Prior to that, the Terrapins were a member of the Southern Conference from 1922-1951 before going Independent for the 1952 season.
“Our best wishes are extended to all of the people associated with the University of Maryland. Since our inception, they have been an outstanding member of our conference and we are sorry to see them exit,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “For the past 60 years the Atlantic Coast Conference has exhibited leadership in academics and athletics. This is our foundation and we look forward to building on it as we move forward.”
ESPN also reports that once Maryland is officially accepted, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will also move to the Big Ten and could announce their decision as soon as Tuesday. Rutgers has been a member of the Big East since 1991.
Rutgers would also like to join the Big Ten by 2014, but that would require them to negotiate out of the 27-month waiting period that is stipulated by the Big East. Pittsburgh and Syracuse successfully did that earlier this year.
The Big Ten is likely adding Maryland and Rutgers to expand their footprint in the Northeast television market. It is believed that will help them in negotiations when their first-tier media rights expire in 2017.
With Maryland leaving the ACC, the conference will be down to 13 schools. Jon Wilner reported earlier today that a potential target for the ACC will be UConn, and that the Huskies could make an announcement as early as Tuesday.
That will continue the domino effect, as the Big East will need to scramble to find two replacements. They had been rumored to be deciding between Air Force and BYU, but now they could simply take both of them. Stay tuned.