Maryland reportedly to Big Ten Monday, Rutgers likely to follow: Cash rules everything

Rob Carr

Monday could see Maryland announce plans to leave the ACC for the Big Ten, with Rutgers coming along from the Big East as well.

The Big Ten could add charter members from the ACC and Big East this week, with Maryland regents voting unanimously on Monday to enter the Big Ten, according to Brett McMurphy. If they go, Rutgers likely goes as well. (This is not a drill.)

UPDATE: Maryland to the Big Ten is official, and Rutgers is reportedly gone too.

The move is not universally popular on Maryland's end*. The Keep UMD in the ACC Facebook page's membership crossed four digits, a Washington Post poll is 68 percent against, and only 39 percent approve in a Baltimore Sun poll.

* But Rutgers fans are happy! But Big Ten fans might not be.

But a very lengthy and informative post at Testudo Times, which is approaching 1,000 comments as of this writing, lays out three concrete reasons for the move (money, academics and stability) and shoots down most of nine objections against the move, though TT isn't necessarily all-in cheerleading the whole thing. Things are still being sacrificed here.

(Again, Rutgers really doesn't have the same conflicts. Leaving the tectonic Big East for one of the two biggest, richest and most stable leagues is a thing you just agree to as quickly as possible.)

The money thing is the big one -- the Terps are broke, recently dropping sports in hopes of shoring up their finances at some point in the next decade. The chance to jump from the ACC's $16 million payout to the Big Ten's $24 million sounds like reasons one through 24 million to me, but I'm not in charge here.

Even that $50 million ACC buyout could be gone in a flash if Maryland can get it cut in half and some combination perhaps including the Big Ten itself and top booster Kevin Plank of Under Armour steps up -- Plank happened to sell $64.5 million worth of shares days earlier. (He's on board with a Big Ten move.)

As for the money ramifications for the conference, Pete Thamel has the pie-in-the-sky figures:

There are an estimated 15 million available households in the New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. markets. If the Big Ten Network got on basic cable in all those places, which is an enormous long shot, the per-household figure by the time Rutgers and Maryland joined the league would project in the neighborhood of $1.25 per month. That would equate to about $200 million per year.

Even a boost of a quarter that could push each Big Ten team's TV payout to nearly double the ACC's once the conference negotiates its next deal. Whether Rutgers football helps command enough of the New York markets to do all that is truly one of the great debates of our time.

The only real losers (besides those of us worried about having to watch Rutgers-Indiana) are Big East teams besides UConn, which could have just landed its way into the ACC. The ACC could effectively pick up UConn and half of Notre Dame in exchange for Maryland, which is not a bad deal as far as emotionless, money-driven deals go.

And with Maryland and thus Rutgers into the Big Ten looking more and more likely, might as well turn a tiny slice of attention to another seasoned rumor coming back around:

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