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Rutgers to pay $11.5 mil to leave AAC this year

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Rutgers will pay $11.5 million to the American Athletic Conference as part of an agreement that will allow the school to enter the Big Ten this summer.

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The school and the conference announced the deal Wednesday.

Rutgers has already paid $5 million to the AAC, including revenue withheld by the conference. The school also agreed to drop a lawsuit challenging the conference's exit fee. Rutgers said the conference was asking for $15 million from the school.

Rutgers officially withdrew from what was then called the Big East on Nov. 21, 2012, when it accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten. The Big East changed its name to the American Athletic Conference last year.

''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 University Athletics Director Julie Hermann said in a statement.

American Athletic Conference bylaws require departing members give 27 months' notification before leaving the conference, though several other schools - including Louisville, West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh - had negotiated early exit fees.

Rutgers will officially become a member of the Big Ten on July 1.

''I am pleased to announce this agreement and I want to thank Athletics Director Julie Hermann for her leadership and efforts in completing it,'' American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. ''We wish Rutgers University well and appreciate the contributions the University has made to our Conference over the years.''

Louisville agreed last year to pay $11 million to leave the American after this season and join the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1. Louisville did not file a lawsuit against the American and had notified the conference it planned to leave more than a year before accepting an invite to the ACC.

The AAC will add East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa next season and Navy is set to join as a football member in 2015, giving the conference 12 football schools.

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