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UMD Officials, Students Cite Importance Of Academic Consortium In Big Ten Move

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The University of Maryland's move to the Big Ten conference has huge implications for the school's athletic programs. But students and school leaders alike see the move as a big win academically well.

Joining the Big Ten means Maryland will rub shoulders with global research powerhouses in its Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). Academics were a significant factor in the decision, University President Dr. Wallace Loh said during a press conference announcing the move Monday.

"I don't know that we would have done this kind of a deal if it were a conference that did not have this consortium," Loh said. 

CIC's member universities conduct $8 billion of funded research each year,  executive director Barbara McFadden Allen said. 

"They work together to leverage those investments so that we have common access to lab resources," she said. Those I think are quite significant for students; just increases the number of opportunities for them."

Membership in the consortium was also a big reason why the student government backed the move to the Big Ten, said Ryan Heisinger, a senior and a vice president of the university's student government. 

"There is an opportunity for us to improve the quality of the research that is coming out of this university," he said.

The University of Maryland is expected to join the Big Ten in July 2014.

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