Welcome to the new landscape of college sports, where billionaire boosters and eight-figure payouts cause universities to abandon rivalries decades in the making.
On Monday, the University of Maryland Board of Regents unanimously approved leaving the ACC and joining the Big Ten conference, a decision that may trigger the next wave of college sports realignment. The move is potentially quite profitable for Maryland, which could double the TV revenue it gets by hitching its wagon to the Big Ten Network.
However, despite the foreseeable long-term gains, breaking with the ACC comes with a high upfront cost: $50 million, an exit fee that was recently raised from only $10 million. That kind of fine could cripple the University, especially at a time of cutbacks and budget shortfalls.