As the major college football conferences continue to expand, sources close to negotiations tell ESPN.com that the Maryland Terrapins and Rutgers Scarlet Knights are involved in serious discussions to join the Big Ten. Maryland is the driving force in these negotiations and their departure to the Big Ten would cause the dominoes to fall which would result in Rutgers leaving the Big East.
No date has been set for an potential announcement, though it could come as soon as Monday.
Maryland president Wallace Loh has been handling the conversation with Big Ten officials, a source said.
One source told ESPN.com that Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson has informed key staffers that there are ongoing discussions.
One stumbling block for Maryland could be finances. Maryland’s athletic department has recently dropped sports because of budget issues, and the ACC recently raised its exit fee to $50 million.
Big Ten officials did not respond to numerous requests seeking comment. ACC officials also did not respond to a request for comment. Maryland officials would not comment when asked after the Terps’ football game on Saturday.
If Maryland was to leave the ACC, it is believed that Connecticut would be a candidate to fill their vacancy in the conference.
In order for Maryland to join the Big Ten, they would need to pay a $50 million departure fee. For Rutgers, the move would cost the university $10 million.
These negotiations are something to watch as there could be another major shift in the college power conferences. If Maryland and Rutgers join the Big Ten, the rich get richer and it will just trigger more teams to jump ship to another major conference.