Maryland, Rutgers Make the Move to Greener Pastures

Maryland, Rutgers Make the Move to Greener Pastures
  • Opening Intro -

    The college sports landscape is changing once again with Maryland of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers of the Big East Conference announcing last week their respective moves to the Big Ten Conference.

    Maryland leaves a solid conference for an even better one, while Rutgers puts behind a conference in shambles to save its reputation.


The newly expanded conference will keep its name and will span from the middle of the country to the shores of the Atlantic for the first time.

Terrapin Exit

Maryland’s move was announced first, at a news conference on Monday. Over the previous weekend rumors that a Maryland ACC exit was imminent suddenly became headline news, with Rutgers mentioned as the second team that would join this prestigious 120-year-old athletic conference.

Moving from the ACC to the Big Ten (B1G) got a lot easier for the Maryland Terrapins when Notre Dame announced last month that it would leave the Big East for the ACC. Except for football and hockey, the Fighting Irish have played in the Big East since 1995. Under the new arrangement, the football team will play five games annually against ACC schools. Notre Dame’s decision finally closed the door on a possible B1G union, paving the way for the B1G to look elsewhere.

Scarlet Knights Move

For Rutgers, the move to the B1G culminates a campaign that started more than a decade ago to raise the Scarlet Knights’ visibility nationally and to give it a better place to play athletically. In December 2000, when a young Greg Schiano was announced as its new football coach, he promised a national championship for a team that hadn’t been to a bowl game in decades. Slowly, but surely Rutgers began to transform, building a new football season and winning games. This year, Rutgers is in the hunt for the Big East title with a possible Orange Bowl date on New Year’s Day.

That Rutgers was extended an invitation contingent upon Maryland’s acceptance may seem like a weak offer, but it was the sensible way for the B1G to expand. Clearly, the B1G could have taken Rutgers only if Maryland declined its own offer, but that would have left the conference with a very uneven 13 schools. There are other universities in proximity to the B1G, but none are Association of American Universities institutions, a necessary requirement for joining that conference. Maryland and Rutgers are AAU members as is Pitt, but Pitt is bound to the ACC next year along with Syracuse. Neither Syracuse nor UConn, two other east coast schools are AAU institutions.

Big East Implosion

For the ACC, Maryland’s loss is an important one as a charter member of this primarily southeastern athletic conference makes a move to what it hopes will be green pastures. Look for the ACC to raid the Big East once again, perhaps extending an offer to UConn to once again even the conference out. The Big East will likely implode as new members Boise State and San Diego State join independent Brigham Young University for discussions with the Mountain West Conference.

Look for conference realignment to continue as the remaining strong leagues — Pac 12, Big 12, SEC, ACC and B1G — seek to improve nationally. For Maryland, the university will gain the financial resources it needs to keep its beleaguered athletic programs afloat. Rutgers will also benefit financially and as Tom Politi, writing for the Star-Ledger noted, the move makes the State University of New Jersey the National Champions of Realignment, or the biggest winner in this ongoing athletic conference shuffle to date.

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Categories: NCAA Football