The Big Ten television network, an enhanced football profile and the opportunity to shake its stepchild status in the ACC were too much for Maryland officials to pass up.
The University of Maryland’s Board of Regents voted Monday to accept an invitation to join the Big Ten beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, according to an ESPN report published moments ago. An official announcement is expected to be made later this afternoon in College Park.
Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, is leaving a league that no longer bears even the faintest resemblance to the one the school helped establish 59 years ago. South Carolina, a co-founding member, is long gone, six other schools have since joined the league and Syracuse and Pittsburgh are in queue to join next year.
Current ACC bylaws call for departing schools to pay a $50 million exit fee, as voted on by 10 of the 12 universities. Maryland was one of the two that turned down the stiff exit fee on legal and philosophical grounds. A source cited by ESPN believes Maryland will be able to negotiate the current $50 million exit price to a lower amount.
In addition to Maryland, Rutgers is set to join the Big Ten as the league’s 14th member. The acquisition of the New Jersey school would allow the conference to reopen negotiations on its media-rights deals, which are only up for debate when a league owns at least 14 members.