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Maryland leaving ACC to join Big Ten in 2014
College Athletics » Rutgers expected to bolt Big East and follow suit
First Published Nov 19 2012 01:38 pm • Last Updated Nov 20 2012 04:49 pm

New York • Maryland is joining the Big Ten, leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference in a shocker of a move in the world of conference realignment that was driven by the school’s budget woes.

The announcement came Monday at a news conference with school President Wallace D. Loh, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and athletic director Kevin Anderson.

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"The membership of the Big Ten enables us to guarantee the financial sustainability of Maryland athletics for a long, long, long time," Loh said.

Loh added that Maryland athletics has been living "paycheck to paycheck." The school had eliminated seven sports programs earlier this year.

"The director and I are absolutely committed to begin the process to reinstate some of the teams we had to terminate," Loh said.

Maryland will become the southernmost member of the Big Ten member starting in 2014.

"Really in the last year it’s become so obvious that major conferences are expanding outside of their regions," Delany told the AP in an interview before Maryland’s news conference on campus in College Park. "You have multiple major conferences all in multiple regions.

"It seemed to us that there was a paradigm shift occurring around us. And therefore the question is how do you respond to that in a way that stay true to yourself, but is also only responsive not to the world you want but the world that you live in."

Rutgers is expected follow suit by Tuesday, splitting from the Big East and making it an even 14 schools in the Big Ten, though Delany would not confirm that.

The Terrapins were a charter member of the ACC, which was founded in 1953.


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"Our best wishes are extended to all of the people associated with the University of Maryland," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "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."

There was speculation last week the Big Ten and Maryland were talking. On Saturday, it became clear the discussions were serious.

"Space is not the divide that it was once upon a time," Delany said.

Maryland also gives the Big Ten a presence in the major media market of Washington. D.C.

Rutgers, in New Brunswick, N.J., and about 40 miles south of New York City, puts the Big Ten in the country’s largest media market, and most heavily populated area.

Delany said demographics were a huge part of this decision. The population is not growing as quickly in the Big Ten’s current Midwestern footprint as it is in other areas of the country, and it has hampered the Big Ten’s ability to recruit, especially in football, its signature sport. The Big Ten felt it needed to change that.

"We think demographics have fueled our growth the last 100 years," Delany said.

"We’re not growing at the same rate as others, the questions is if you project out to 2030, what do we need to do? I think we need to stay true to ourselves as far as our philosophy, the balance, the kind of institutions we interface with.

"But also if we want to continue to succeed. Success is often, in many cases, empowered by demographic advantage. And that was being eroded both by consolidation by other conferences around the country, some into our natural, historic area. Also by a different growth rate, some people are growing by 3 or 4 percent some by 1½ percent.

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