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Conferential Drift The NCAA's game of musical chairs comes to D.C.

The University of Maryland was a founding member of the NCAA’s Atlantic Coast Conference. For decades, Maryland athletes trucked up and down I-95 to play rivals like Duke, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest. Come 2014, though, the Terrapins will clash with unfamiliar foes with nicknames like Spartans, Illini, Badgers, and Wolverines. Spurred by the promise of bigger cash flows from TV football contracts, Maryland joined college sports’ ongoing game of musical chairs this fall, announcing a move to the Midwest-focused Big 10 Conference (which will, when Maryland arrives, boast 14 members). That wasn’t the NCAA carousel’s only D.C.-area effect; Georgetown University opted out of playing teams like Tulane and the University of Houston in an overgrown Big East, choosing in December to join other urban, Catholic schools without big-time football programs in a new basketball-dominated league. Blame it all on ESPN—whose executives won’t mind, so long as you tune in.

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