The additions of Rutgers and Maryland softball to the Big Ten in 2014 will bring one strong and one weak program to the conference.

For each, the move out of the relatively weaker Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference into the much stronger Big Ten will mean a more challenging schedule, as well as more travel, for both teams.

Maryland, which has made the NCAA tournament each of the last three seasons, should be able to compete immediately.

“I think it’s a solid move for us all around,” said Maryland coach Laura Watten. “The Big Ten is a consistently strong conference. I think we’re going to step in and be a contender immediately.”

Rutgers will have less of an impact on the Big Ten when it makes its debut in two years. The Scarlet Knights have compiled losing records each of the past three seasons and have not qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

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