Reports came out from both ESPN and Yahoo! this afternoon that Maryland was in serious talks with the Big Ten about joining the conference and if Maryland joins, Rutgers would also come along for the ride.
Rumors began last night as Phil Grosz commented on his radio program that Maryland was in talks and that an announcement could come as soon as this week. In order to keep the conference with an even number of teams, Rutgers has also been added to the mix in the quest for that all-important New York City television market.
In order to leave the ACC, Maryland would need to pay a $50 million exit fee. Luckily for them, they have a booster in Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank who just cashed out $65 million worth of stock in his company, more than enough to cover the exit fee. Rutgers, on the other hand, would only have to pay $10 million to get out of the Big East if they gave the conference 27 months notice, but West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh have all proven there is a way around those rules over the past year.
As stated above, the Big Ten hopes to gain the New York City television market with the Rutgers addition as well as the Washington D.C. market which would come along with Maryland. These assumptions may not be as strong as thought of as the people of New York City don't really care about what happen in Piscataway and there are many other teams in the D.C. metro area that fans of the region care about.
Potential "pros" for the conference would be the formation of actual East/West divisions and keeping up with the expansion of the SEC, who is now at 14 teams as well, but would that really be worth it considering the quality of football (and basketball in Rutgers' case) that you are adding? And would the teams be able to support themselves in the conference? Maryland has had to cut seven different varsity sports programs over the past year just so their athletic department could stay afloat and Rutgers lost nearly $27 million as of 2010 in its department.
It has been seen in the past that once these stories make it into the mainstream, they are bound to come true. We'll have more analysis on Black Shoe Diaries over the next few days, but until then, get ready to rekindle the Nittany Lion-Terrapin rivalry.
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