Continued from page 1

Besides, Loh noted, the ACC isn’t exactly the cozy little group it was 59 years ago. Notre Dame was recently added to the conference, though it will remain a football independent and play five games against ACC teams.

“The world of the ACC as we have known it has changed, and the job of the president is not just to look at the past and the present, but to look to the future,” Loh said.

Loh said the discussions between Maryland and the Big Ten gathered steam two weeks ago. On Saturday, it became clear the discussions were serious.

“Space is not the divide that it was once upon a time,” Delany said.

Maryland gives the Big Ten a presence in the major media market of Washington. D.C. Rutgers, in New Brunswick, N.J., and about 40 miles south of New York City, puts the Big Ten in the country’s largest media market, and most heavily populated area.

Delany said demographics were a huge part of this decision. The population is not growing as quickly in the Big Ten’s current Midwestern footprint as it is in other areas of the country, and it has hampered the Big Ten’s ability to recruit, especially in football, its signature sport. The Big Ten felt it needed to change that.

“We think demographics have fueled our growth the last 100 years,” Delany told the AP in an interview before the news conference. “…What we’re doing is not creating a new paradigm, we’re responding to a new paradigm but for very kind of historic reasons. We understand that success requires a dynamic involvement with rich demographics.”

For both schools, the move should come with long-term financial gain. The Big Ten reportedly paid its members $24.6 million in shared television and media rights revenues this year.

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.

Loh believes the potential financial gain of this deal will more than offset the sum.

“I say we have an arrangement within our membership that will assure the future of Maryland athletics for decades to come,” he said. “As we crunched those numbers, we are able to deal with this issue.”

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, and not until the last few days did it come to light, surprising many in intercollegiate athletics.

Story Continues →