The University of Maryland has committed to making the switch from the ACC to the Big Ten, almost entirely to benefit financially from being broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Last season, the Big Ten paid out each of its schools roughly $24 million in television advertising revenue. By contrast, the ACC paid out a mere $6 million each.
That is a big difference, and one that the Terps, a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, simply could not pass up.
[Related: Big East adds two teams to the conference]
However, the decision-makers at Maryland had best hope those advertising numbers stay the same, or improve, because they are going to be paying quite a pretty penny to their former conference.
$52,266,342 to be exact.
The ACC has filed a lawsuit compelling Maryland to pay the total amount, which is three times the annual operating expenses of the league itself.
In a statement, Commissioner John Swofford says the ACC’s council of presidents unanimously decided to file the 10-page document with the Guilford County Superior Court, ”to file legal action to ensure enforcement of this obligation.”
”We continue to extend our best wishes to the University of Maryland; however, there is the expectation that Maryland will fulfill its exit fee obligation,” Swofford said.
The conference voted to raise the exit fee first from $12-14 million to $20 million after adding both Syracuse and Pitt from the Big East, and again to its present $50 million after adding Notre Dame in every sport but football.
Rutgers joined Maryland in departing their respective conferences for the Big Ten, but Rutgers is only anticipating a $10-20 million exit fee from the Big East.
Back when the conference was voting on whether or not to raise the exit fee from the aforementioned $20 to $50 million, the only two schools to vote against the massive hike was Florida State and, yes, Maryland.
In fact, Maryland President Wallace D. Loh was so against the fee raise in connection to the addition of Notre Dame that he went so far as to call it an “exit penalty”.
Why was the fee increase so appalling to Loh, besides the fact that it would hinder his plans at making the move to a new, far more lucrative conference?
Loh found the massive raise to be ”illegal and philosophically not a good idea.”
Now that the ACC has taken the initiative, the United States courts will decide what exactly is legal and illegal.
Latest from around Gamedayr >> The Big East is making moves to recover following so many departures.