Maryland heads to Big Ten Conference

Nov. 19, 2012 at 6:36 PM
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COLLEGE PARK, Md., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The University of Maryland, a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, is set to move to the Big Ten, school officials said Monday

"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," Maryland President Wallace Loh said at a news conference after the university's regents approved the change.

"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."

Maryland, citing finances, recently cut seven sports, including men's and women's swimming, men's tennis and men's cross-country and indoor track and field. School officials are apparently counting on revenues from the Big Ten Network to help bring at least some of those sports back.

Word Maryland was considering a change of conferences broke last weekend.

Maryland is a founding member of the ACC, which brought together seven Atlantic Coast schools into a league in 1953. Until Maryland's apparent move, the league wasn't touched by the defections that hit other conferences in recent years, although the ACC did benefit, picking up new members Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East and independent Notre Dame.

The Big Ten in 2011 admitted Nebraska from the Big 12 -- giving the Big Ten 12 members

Rutgers is also believed to be a potential member of the Big Ten, joining Maryland and making it a 14-member conference.

The ACC in the wake of the conference realignment set a $50 million penalty on any school wishing to leave the league. There is also a 10-month waiting period before exiting, which is apparently the reason for Maryland's target date of July 2014 for joining the Big Ten.

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