Rutgers Close to Big Ten Membership

Significant progress in clearing the path to the Big Ten was made early this morning when Maryland voted to change conference affiliation. How close is Rutgers to following and what steps are left?

A major hurdle in the process has been cleared by Maryland voting yes to leave the ACC for the Big Ten. With Rutgers expecting to vote yes to leave the Big East after Maryland's vote, the program is close to joining the Big Ten Conference.

Following an extensive evaluation process on both ends, Rutgers is expected to leave the Big East in favor of the Big Ten, sources said.

The move, to be made in conjunction with the University of Maryland, has both schools buying out of membership in the current conference to become the 13th and 14th schools in the Big Ten.

Maryland's Board of Regents voted to approve the move early this morning and Rutgers is also expected to vote in the affirmative. Formal announcements are expected within the next 24 hours, sources said.

Rutgers must still apply for membership into the Big Ten Conference. The application process can be considered a formality because of long-term talks between Rutgers, Maryland and the Big Ten behind closed doors, but must be done in order for the move to become official.

The first step, according to Big Ten protocol, is for commissioner Jim Delaney, Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon – the Council of Presidents/Chancellors chair, to initiate formal discussions with Rutgers, Maryland, the Big East and the ACC.

After calls to Big East commissioner Mike Aresco and ACC commissioner John Swofford to declare their intentions, formal discussions begin when Rutgers and Maryland apply for membership.

Rutgers and Maryland would need at least eight "yes" votes from the Council of Presidents/Chancellors, for admission.

Rutgers and Maryland are expected to be approved, but the moves are not yet a done deal.

Details of the transition out of the Big East must still be worked out, including the exit fee and year in which the program moves its sports teams into the Big Ten.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse recently reached agreements to pay the exit fee from the conference at a 150 percent rate to leave for the ACC a year early. West Virginia paid four times the former $5 million exit fee for immediate departure to the Big 12.

Since West Virginia's departure, the Big East exit fee was raised to $10 million.

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