COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — An historic transition. The University of Maryland is just hours away from leaving the ACC and joining the Big Ten Conference.
University leaders and coaches gathered Monday at the Under Armour Brand House in downtown Baltimore to kick off the major move.
Rick Ritter has details.
It’s a move that will net the university millions of dollars more a year than they got in the ACC. At the same time, officials say the Big Ten means big money for the entire state.
Out with the old. Leaving decades of tradition behind, Maryland is dancing all the way to the Big Ten. It’s a move the university says provides them financial stability for years to come.
“I think the DNA, as I mentioned, between Maryland and the rest of our institutions makes sense,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany.
Institutions like Penn State and Ohio State. In the ACC, Maryland got $17 million a year from the conference. Playing in the Big Ten, they will get $25 million a year.
“There’s no question that the finances had a big thing to do with us,” said Kevin Anderson, University of Maryland athletic director.
Perhaps Coach Randy Edsall and his football program benefit the most from a conference change. The university says football season ticket sales are already up 25 percent from a year ago.
“Now you know that you’ve got a chance to do the things that you want to do,” Edsall said.
The initial announcement of the switch came back in November 2012. Former Terp and Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith can’t help but smile.
“Seeing just Maryland on a bigger stage is great for the entire state,” he said.
Even though the move is a big win for the university, they still face several obstacles. The ACC is forcing the school to pay a pricey exit fee.
That breakup fee is $50 million. It’s unclear how much the school — or by extension — Maryland taxpayers will have to pay.
“I can’t really discuss that at this moment,” said Anderson.
But bigger fan bases from visiting Big Ten teams means dollar signs for the local economy.
“Can you imagine all the money that’s going to be coming into this area with the visiting teams?” Edsall said.
And Terps fans couldn’t be more excited to make the move official.
Tuesday marks Maryland’s first day in the Big Ten Conference.
Rutgers University will also celebrate its first day in the Big Ten on Tuesday.
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