Next Step: Big Ten

Rutgers and the American Athletic Conference reached an agreement Wednesday for exit terms. Rutgers will have its membership terminated to join the Big Ten on July 1, 2014 along with Maryland.

The long negotiation process is over, and Rutgers has its exit from the American Athletic Conference set. The American and Rutgers both announced terms of the departure Wednesday afternoon, which was the final hurdle for the Big Ten bound program.

Rutgers must pay an exit fee of $11.5 million to leave the American and join the Big Ten July 1, 2014. With the originally buyout set at $15 million, Rutgers saved $3.5 million in negotiations.

"It's been a privilege to be a member of the American Athletic Conference and to be associated with the great professionals at the league office that make the American a conference of tough competition, class and integrity," said Rutgers athletics director Julie Hermann in a statement. "I deeply appreciate the leadership and insight commissioner [Mike] Aresco provided us as we worked together for an outcome that allowed Rutgers and the American Athletic Conference to enter this new era in their history effectively.

"The American has been a wonderful home for our student-athletes and we wish them well in their future endeavors."

With the departure process now solidified, Rutgers can focus its energies toward preparations to join the Big Ten.

"This settlement will allow us to continue along the path to self-sufficiency for our athletic programs. One-time restructuring costs like this settlement and the costs associated with cancelling a previous marketing contract are more than offset by anticipated revenues from the Big Ten and from our new marketing partner IMG College," said Rutgers President Robert Barchi.

"The increased ongoing revenue resulting from these one-time investments will provide the financial support necessary for the athletic department to move towards financial stability."

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