Piscataway, NJ (Sports Network) - Rutgers University has become the latest Big East defector, accepting an invitation to join the Big Ten.
It's the second addition in as many days for the Big Ten, which will now have 14 members. Maryland announced its decision to leave the ACC for the Big Ten on Monday.
"The additions of Rutgers and the University of Maryland further expand the Big Ten's footprint while helping solidify our presence on the East Coast," said Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, a New Jersey native. "Both institutions feature a combination of academic and athletic excellence and will prove a great fit for our future."
There is no timeline for the move, but it had been reported that Rutgers was hoping to join the Big Ten for the 2014-15 academic year. However, the school would have to work out an early-exit agreement with the Big East, which requires a departure notice of 27 months. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are headed to the ACC next year and have already made similar agreements with the Big East to leave early.
Athletic director Tim Pernetti said at Tuesday's press conference Rutgers will work with the Big East toward a seamless exit.
Rutgers has been a Big East member since 1991 in football and since 1995 in all sports.
"It's a transformative day for Rutgers University," said Pernetti on Tuesday. "The Big Ten is the ultimate conference, proving that athletics and academics at the highest level can coexist."
The Scarlet Knights field a total of 24 teams, 10 men's and 14 women's programs, in 16 different sports. The football team had long been ridiculed before the arrival of Greg Schiano in 2001, but has begun to flourish in the average Big East and is having one of its best seasons under first-year head coach Kyle Flood with an opportunity to win its first conference championship.
Rutgers' exit will add more confusion in the ever-changing Big East.
Created mainly as a men's basketball conference in 1979 with Syracuse, Providence, Georgetown, St. John's, Seton Hall, Boston College and Connecticut as original members, the league has since expanded numerous times to its current 16 members.
In addition to the imminent departures of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, Notre Dame announced plans in September to leave the Big East for the ACC in all sports except football and hockey. West Virginia left the Big East this year for a move to the Big 12.
In a move to fortify the conference, the Big East added Boise State, San Diego State and Navy as football-only members, while Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Temple and Memphis will be added for all other sports.