Maryland, Rutgers to join Big Ten Conference

Two more Division I schools have joined the NCAA conference realignment hodgepodge. Today, the Board of Regents at the University of Maryland voted unanimously to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten Conference. The move comes after Maryland voted against raising the ACC’s exit fee to $50 million, a fee the university will likely have to pay to join the Big Ten.

Maryland and Rutgers are the latest universities to join the complicated game of NCAA Musical Chairs.

Rutgers University is also expected to join the Big Ten Conference this week. Its Board of Governors will discuss the issue at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday. Rutgers marks the fifth Big East school to announce its departure since 2011. West Virginia left for the Big 12 this summer, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will join the ACC in 2013, and Notre Dame will join the ACC as a non-football member in 2015.

The Big Ten is highly anticipating these moves, and is likely to use the addition of Maryland and Rutgers as a bargaining chip during television right negotiations. The Big Ten’s national and regional television rights expire in 2017, and the addition of two major-market universities should help the Big Ten secure a more lucrative contract extension.

Both Rutgers and Maryland are expected to remain in their current conferences until 2014. The University of Connecticut is rumored to replace Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but no official reports have confirmed not denied this matter. And for those who are keeping score at home:

The Big Ten Conference would have 12 teams in 2013 and 14 in 2014.

The Atlantic Coast Conference would have 14 teams in 2013, 13 in 2014, and 14* in 2015 (*Notre Dame will not compete in the ACC for football).

Now all we need is Hawaii to join the Big East, Florida to join the Pac-12, and Oregon to join the SEC, and we’ll have a real game of college musical chairs.

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