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Maryland Terrapins Big Ten move announced by campus leaders

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NEW YORK (AP/ABC7) - Citing the need to sure up the department and university's financial situation and vaulting the school into the next level of athletics and academics, the University of Maryland announced Monday that it would move its athletic programs to the Big Ten Conference in 2014.

Maryland will soon depart the Atlantic Coast Conference for the confines of the Big Ten. Photo: Associated Press

The move ends nearly six decades of affiliation with the Atlantic Coast Conference, a league the school and its athletic program helped found in 1953.

"This is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland," University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said. "Membership in the Big Ten is in strategic interest of the university."

Rutgers is expected follow suit by Tuesday, departing the Big East and making it an even 14 in the Big Ten. The move, for Maryland, will take effect on July 1, 2014.

Joined on stage by Athletic Director Kevin Anderson, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and a large group of Terrrapin coaches, Loh reiterated numerous times the academic, research and financial benefits of making the move.

"The issues of affordability are paramount in these times," Loh said. "We are doing nothing less than developing a new financial paradigm for intercollegiate athletics."

In brief remarks, Anderson echoed Loh in saying that he never again wanted to look a student-athlete in the eyes and say that their dream of playing college athletics at Maryland wouldn't happen.

"It guarantees our athletic department financial stability," Anderson said. "We have done so much with so little for so long. Imagine what our teams will accomplish."

But many students say it's not such a good thing for mens basketball.

Wins over Duke have led to wild celebrations. Some students wonder if any Big 10 rivalry could ever be comparable.

"I'm not happy about it, just because there's so much pedigree with ACC basketball..." Senior Kurt Dieter said.

Other students hope Maryland's president makes good on a pledge to try and bring some of the seven sports programs cut for financial reasons.

Katie Kennedy, a junior at UMd., said, "Specifically...men's track, the swimming and diving teams. It'd be great if they could come back, and hopefully, the finances will help with that."

For both schools, the move should come with a 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.

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 former two will join the ACC in 2013, while West Virginia has already shifted its affiliation to the Big 12.

Maryland's move to the Big Ten will end a longtime affiliation with the Atlantic Coast Conference. The school was a charter member of the ACC, which was formed in 1953.

"We're not asking you to become us," Delany said. "We're asking to partner with you in academics, research and athletics."

Loh repeatedly cited the fact that joining the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a union of the Big Ten schools that shares expertise and collaborates on academic programs, was a major factor in joining the conference.

"They have a network of collaboration that we can take advantage of that will further propel our upward ascendance to academic excellence," Loh said.

Both Loh and Anderson also said that the renewed financial security to come would also allow the school to investigate reinstituting some of the seven teams that the school cut in the midst of a financial crisis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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