After more than five decades playing conference games along Tobacco Road, reports have emerged that the University of Maryland may soon be heading to the Midwest.
Yahoo and ESPN are reporting that the Maryland Terrapins are in negotiations to exit the Atlantic Coast Conference and join the Big Ten conference. Reports also indicate that the Big Ten would solidify its east coast reach by adding New Jersey's Rutgers University.
Some sources expect that an announcement of the new conference arrangement could come as early as next week. A charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, it would be considered a bombshell to many if the Terps exited the storied basketball conference.
In the current college sports landscape, football serves as the economic driver, and nowhere is football more lucrative than the Big Ten. The Big Ten Network, a cable television channel jointly operated by the conference and Fox Sports, is estimated to be seen in over 70 million homes. Maryland would give the Big Ten Network a more prominent presence in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore media markets. Rutgers would do the same in the New York City market.
Maryland has had financial struggles within its atheletic department, which recently forced the school to cut seven sports, including men's tennis and some track and field teams. While it is unknown what exactly the increased revenue from joining the Big Ten would allow the Terps atheletic department to do, it is clear that the move would increase funds.
Currently the ACC consists of Maryland, Boston College, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. Syracuse and Pittsburgh will soon be joining the ACC, and Notre Dame is scheduled to join the conference for all sports except football.
The Big Ten consists of Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Nebraska and Illinois.