College Park, MD, United States (4E Sports) – The University of Maryland board of regents has approved the school’s transfer from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten Conference starting in 2014.
Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, is expected to formally announce its decision Monday. This marks the second time in history that the ACC is losing a charter member.
“Today is a historic day for both the University of Maryland and for Maryland Athletics,” Maryland director of athletics Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “The Big Ten is an outstanding conference comprised of flagship research universities.”
Our new peers share our pursuit of both athletic and academic excellence. We are thrilled to join the Big Ten and look forward to beginning this next chapter in Maryland Athletics starting in 2014,” Anderson added.
“Our best wishes are extended to all of the people associated with the University of Maryland,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said. “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,” Swofford added.
Former Terps basketball star Tom McMillen, a member of the board, told the Washington Post that he voted against the move.
NC State football coach Tom O’Brien said the move “caught a lot of people by surprise.”
“Each school is intent on doing what’s best for itself. Obviously Maryland felt that was best in moving forward,” O’Brien said.
A major part in Maryland’s decision is to shore up a financially struggling athletic department. The school eliminated seven varsity sports this year and the athletic department has a large financial deficit.
Boosted by its own television network, the Big Ten has been a financial powerhouse, distributing $24.6 million to most of its 12 schools this year.
The ACC, with a new 15-year, $3.6 billion contract with ESPN signed in May, can only shell out roughly $17 million a year to its member schools.
The ACC requires a $50 million exit fee before a member school could move but Maryland could negotiate a lower fee.
Maryland was one of eight charter members when the ACC was formed on May 8, 1953. Before Monday, the only school to withdraw from the conference was the University of South Carolina in 1971.
In September, the ACC announced that Notre Dame would join the league in all sports but football and hockey. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving the Big East after this year to join the ACC.