Maryland leaving ACC, others may follow - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Maryland leaving ACC, others may follow

(RNN) - As the conference realignment carousel spins at a dizzying speed, the cost of changing leagues is adding up for universities.

On Monday, the University of Maryland voted to accept an invitation to join the Big Ten. That means a $50 million buyout owed to the ACC when they vacate, though ESPN reports the school will likely negotiate that figure down.

Maryland will officially begin Big Ten play in the 2014-2015 academic year.

"Maryland is a tradition-rich institution with a history of academic and athletic excellence. They're a great fit and we look forward to a great future," said James E. Delany, Big Ten commissioner.

Rutgers is also reportedly in talks to head to the Big Ten, which with 12 current teams not including Maryland, might want to finally consider upgrading its name.

The $50 million ACC buyout was upped from $20 million in September - with two institutions, Florida State and Maryland, voting against the increase.

Florida State's athletic director shot down conference realignment in May, telling the Orlando Sentinel "We're committed to the ACC," after rumors surfaced the school was considering a move to the Big 12.

While the university has had nothing to say on this round of conference realignment, many FSU football fans want the Seminoles to follow Maryland's lead and find a new home.

Because of a weak conference schedule - FSU and Clemson are the only ACC teams in the BCS Top 25 - and after a 1-point loss to N.C. State on the road, the 10-1 Noles sit behind several two-loss teams in this week's BCS. Among them are LSU and Texas A&M from the almighty, can-do-no-wrong-even-if-they-lose SEC.

While the Seminoles could have controlled their own national championship destiny by running the table, the fact that they lost in the ACC likely cost them a shot at the championship game.

While $50 million is a stiff penalty, it might be a check the Seminoles can't afford not to write.

Florida State will play a 6-5 Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship, thanks to 6-5 Miami self-imposing a bowl ban in hopes of fending off stiffer penalties expected to result from an investigation by the NCAA.

Regardless, the ACC has a hole to fill and according to CBS, the conference is considering Connecticut, Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati as potential replacements for the Terrapins.

All that said, take your motion sickness pills. This carousel is just getting started.

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