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There will be some financial matters to resolve in the short term though. After the ACC added Notre Dame as a member in all sports but football and hockey in September, the league voted to raise the exit fee to $50 million. Maryland was one of two schools that voted against the increased exit fee.
The Big East’s exit fee is $10 million, but the league also requires a 27-month notification period for departing members. That means Rutgers will not be able to join the Big ten until 2015 without working out some kind of deal with the Big East.
Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia have all negotiated early withdrawals from the Big East in the past year.
The ACC could now be in the market for another member and it would not be surprising if it looks to the Big East, yet again. Connecticut would seem a perfect fit after Pitt and Syracuse join next season.
The Big Ten added Nebraska in 2010 to go to 12 members, and Delany had given every indication that the conference was happy to stay at that number. The conference had given no indication it was in the expansion market.
The question now is whether this sparks more realignment from conferences that weren’t even affected. The Big 12 has indicated it is comfortable with its current 10 members, including newcomers West Virginia and TCU, but there has always been some sentiment within the conference to at some point go back to 12 — at least.
The Southeastern Conference reached 14 members this season with the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri.
The Big East, which has plans to become a 12-team, four-time zone conference next season, could be in real trouble again — especially if UConn is wooed by the ACC. The Big East was hoping that adding Boise State and San Diego State, and maybe persuading BYU to join, would make it a strong enough football conference to justify its far-flung nature and make up for its lack of traditional powers and rivalries.
But if it sustains more losses, while trying to negotiate a pivotal new television deal, will Boise State and San Diego State renege on their commitments to the Big East?
And will Maryland’s departure spur other ACC schools — such as Florida State — to eye a new home?
For now, though, Maryland is the latest school to forsake tradition to potentially gain more revenue. The Terps have mostly been a middling football program for several decades, though its men’s basketball teams have been consistently strong, winning a national title in 2002.
Maryland this year cut seven sports programs because of budget concerns and has been having a hard time filling its newly renovated football stadium.
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