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AP Source: Big Ten talking to Maryland, Rutgers
Maryland and Rutgers are in discussions with the Big Ten to possibly join the conference in 2014, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
The person spoke Saturday night on condition of anonymity because neither the conference nor the schools want to publicly discuss their plans.
ESPN.com first reported that the Big Ten was looking into expanding to 14 teams by adding Maryland and Rutgers.
The person says Maryland would have to be “the first domino to fall,” but added that an agreement could be reached as soon as this week for both schools.
Text messages and phone calls to Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson and Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti were not immediately returned.
Several officials with Big Ten schools, reached at football and basketball games on Saturday, declined to talk about the report.
“If there was any news to come out of expansion, it would come out of the conference office,” Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta said
The Big Ten has 12 members after adding Nebraska last season.
Maryland is in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which recently added Notre Dame as a member in all sports except football and hockey. The ACC is scheduled to become a 14-team football conference next season with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
When the ACC added Notre Dame in September, its members also voted to raise the exit fee of the league to $50 million.
Rutgers is a member of the Big East, which is on target to become a 12-team football conference next season when Boise State and five others join. The Big East has been hammered in realignment over the past year with the losses of Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia and Notre Dame.
In rebuilding the league into a coast-to-coast conference, the Big East also raised its exit fee to $10 million. The conference also has a 27-month notification period, but West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse have all negotiated early exit deals.
If Maryland were to leave the ACC for the Big Ten, Connecticut of the Big East would seem to be the most logical replacement with the ACC having already built a northern base in the conference.
Adding Maryland and Rutgers would give the Big Ten schools in two more huge television markets _ Washington D.C. and the New York/New Jersey area _ while expanding the conference’s footprint east and south.
Penn State is currently the easternmost school in the Big Ten.
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