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American Athletic Conference, Rutgers announce settlement

Feb 12, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT

Eddie Jordan, Robert Barchi AP

When Rutgers made the decision in 2012 to accept an invitation to join the Big Ten, two questions that needed answering were when the school would make the move and how much it would cost them. Some programs involved in conference realignment have simply waited after making their decision, choosing to negotiate their exit fee, but a few others have gone with the lawsuit method.

Rutgers did just that in December 2012, suing the Big East over its exit fee and the 27-month waiting period required of members in the Big East’s bylaws.

On Wednesday the American Athletic Conference announced that it has come to an agreement with Rutgers in regards to the terms of the separation, with the school having to pay an $11.5 million exit fee. With the conference having already received $5 million, Rutgers will pay the remaining $6.5 million over a four-year period with the first payment to be made on September 1, 2014.

The American originally sought to receive a $15 million exit fee from Rutgers, so the school does save $3.5 million with this agreement. And given how much Rutgers expects to make in the Big Ten, they’ll make up for that loss (and then some) down the line.

“This settlement will allow us to continue along the path to self-sufficiency for our athletic programs,’’ [Rutgers president Robert] Barchi said. “One-time restructuring costs like this settlement and the costs associated with canceling a previous marketing contract are more than offset by anticipated revenues from the Big Ten and from our new marketing partner IMG College. The increased ongoing revenue resulting from these one-time investments will provide the financial support necessary for the athletic department to move toward financial stability.’’

Rutgers was going to be a member of the Big Ten on July 1, 2014. The only question was just how much it would cost the school, and Wednesday’s announcement provided the answer. For the Big Ten there’s just one question left: how much will Maryland have to pay the ACC?

The ACC wants the $52.2 million exit fee that its members agreed to in 2012, with Maryland and Florida State being the lone schools to object to the increase. Obviously Maryland doesn’t want to pay that much, leading to dueling lawsuits in Maryland (filed by the school) and North Carolina (filed by the ACC).

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