Not that there was ever any real doubt, but all of the hurdles related to Rutgers’ defection to another conference have officially been cleared.
The American Athletic Conference and Rutgers jointly announced Wednesday afternoon that the two sides have reached an agreement regarding the university’s departure from the conference. The release added that the separation agreement settles the litigation between the two parties.
While the financial particulars were not revealed, Rutgers reportedly paid $11.5 million as its exit fee.
With the agreement in hand, Rutgers will become an official member of the Big Ten July 1 of this year.
“I am pleased to announce this agreement and I want to thank Athletics Director Julie Hermann for her leadership and efforts in completing it,” said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement. “We wish Rutgers University well and appreciate the contributions the University has made to our Conference over the years. Having enjoyed an extremely successful inaugural football season and being in the midst of an equally successful basketball campaign, it is clear that we have forged a strong Conference. We look forward to welcoming East Carolina University, Tulane University and the University of Tulsa in 2014 and the United States Naval Academy in 2015.”
“It’s been a privilege to be a member of the American Athletic Conference and to be associated with the great professionals at the league office that make The American a Conference of tough competition, class and integrity,” RU athletic director Julie Hermann said. “I deeply appreciate the leadership and insight Commissioner Aresco provided us as we worked together for an outcome that allowed Rutgers and the American Athletic Conference to enter this new era in their history effectively. The American has been a wonderful home for our student-athletes and we wish them well in their future endeavors.”
Rutgers and Maryland announced in November of 2012 that the two schools would be moving (most) of their athletic programs to the Big Ten in July. Still to be determined is when the latter can reach an agreement with its current conference.
When last we heard, the ACC was attempting to assess Maryland a $52.3 million exit fee prior to its departure for the Big Ten. Maryland upped the ante recently, filing a counterclaim in excess of $157 million. That counterclaim was an offshoot of the original $52 million lawsuit brought by the university against the conference.
It would be an upset of monumental proportions if the two sides didn’t reach an agreement prior to the end of June.