College Park, MD (Sports Network) - The University of Maryland has decided to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten, effective at the start of the 2014-15 academic year.
The news was announced at a Monday press conference, just hours after the school's Board of Regents gave its approval for the move. Maryland has been a charter member of the ACC since the league's inception 1953.
"This is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland. I am pleased to announce that we will become a member of the Big Ten Conference, effective July 1, 2014," said Maryland president Dr. Wallace D. Loh. "Membership in the Big Ten is in the strategic interest of the University of Maryland. By being members of the Big Ten, we will be able to ensure the financial stability of athletics for decades to come. We are absolutely committed to start the process to reinstate some of the teams we had to terminate. We are committed to giving our student-athletes the best possible experience."
The Terrapins recently cut seven of their 27 varsity sports and the revenues per school are reportedly larger in the Big Ten thanks, in part, to the creation of the Big Ten Network.
Multiple reports over the weekend indicated that once Maryland decided to make the move, Rutgers would be next. Rutgers has been part of the Big East in football since 1991 and all sports since 1995.
It will mark the second expansion for the Big Ten in recent years, as Nebraska is in its second season of play in the conference after leaving the Big 12.
Maryland and Rutgers will also expand the Big Ten's footprint to the East Coast, giving the league a presence in Washington, DC and New York City.
"Some people may fear the turtle, but we embrace it. Today is Maryland's day. It is a very remarkable place and we are thrilled to have the University of Maryland in the Big Ten," stated Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. "We are a traditional place and we have been very stable for a very long time, but we realize all the major conferences now exist outside their original footprints. We believe that the association is one that will benefit both of us. We're happy that we've been able to provide you a method of seeing the future."
The departure of Maryland will be a hit to the ACC, which is also set to expand next season with the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh from the Big East. Notre Dame also announced plans to leave the Big East for the ACC in all sports except football in September, but a timeline has not yet been finalized for the Irish's first season.
When the ACC revealed its most recent expansion, it also raised its exit fee to $50 million. Reports have indicated that the Big Ten may help Maryland pay the exorbitant amount.
"Our best wishes are extended to all of the people associated with the University of Maryland," said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a statement on Monday. "Since our inception, they have been an outstanding member of our conference and we are sorry to see them exit. 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."
The reported decision of Rutgers, meanwhile, would also create more confusion in the ever-changing Big East.
Created mainly as a men's basketball conference in 1979 with Syracuse, Providence, Georgetown, St. John's, Seton Hall, Boston College and Connecticut as original members, the league has since expanded numerous times to its current 16 members.
Prior to the departures of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, the ACC had lured Miami-Florida, Virginia Tech and Boston College away from the Big East at different times. West Virginia also moved from the Big East to the Big 12 this year.
In a move to fortify the conference, the Big East added Boise State, San Diego State and Navy as football-only members, while Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Temple and Memphis will be added for all other sports.
11/19 15:41:46 ET