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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Maryland to join Big Ten conference

The Big Ten Conference announced the addition of the University of Maryland as its 13th member Monday, marking the second league expansion in the last 29 months.

The school will officially join the conference July 1, 2014, and will begin competing in all Big Ten sports in the 2014-’15 academic year, according to a Big Ten release.

According to multiple reports, Rutgers University is expected to become the 14th member Tuesday.

Wisconsin football head coach Bret Bielema said the addition of the two schools would improve the school’s ability to recruit in the eastern part of the country.

“On the East Coast, when we are recruiting out there—probably more so Rutgers than Maryland right now, at least football-wise—we do go against Rutgers quite a bit in recruiting,” Bielema said Monday afternoon, shortly before the conference officially announced the addition of Maryland.

Wisconsin men’s basketball associate head coach Greg Gard said the program has predominately recruited in the Midwest but potentially could expand its efforts if the Big Ten adds a foothold on the east coast.

“If we find somebody we like, obviously it’s an avenue in, because now you get to go back there and play,” Gard said.

With 347 NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs compared to 120 NCAA Division I FBS football programs, Gard said Maryland’s addition likely won’t have the same impact on both sports’ recruiting efforts.

“It’s a little bit different in terms of geographic area you can cover, and our scholarship numbers obviously aren’t the same, either,” Gard said. “We only deal with an average of three per year, four per year. So you don’t have to extend as far.”

Maryland will leave the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten, while Rutgers would leave the Big East. The ACC imposed a $50 million exit fee for any school attempting to leave the conference in September, though it is unclear whether or not the school will attempt to challenge or negotiate the price.

Maryland and Rutgers are both members of the Association of American Universities, a nonprofit organization of 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. The two schools also provide potential access to large media markets, including New York City and Washington, D.C.

“I think there’s a tremendous value in the East Coast markets,” Bielema said. “But all that stuff is way beyond what a head coach thinks about.”

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Prior to June 2010, when Nebraska joined the Big Ten, the conference stretched from Minneapolis to State College, Penn., a distance of 974 miles. Both Lincoln, Neb., and Minneapolis are approximately 1,200 miles from Piscataway, N.J., where Rutgers plays its home football games.

The addition of Nebraska marked the beginning of a two-plus year period of conference realignment all around the country. This is the Big Ten’s first expansion since then.

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