Rutgers University will join the Big Ten at a date that’s yet to be determined, according to school and Big Ten officials Tuesday.
“This is a historic day for Rutgers University,” said Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti. “It is an honor to join such a prestigious conference and begin our partnership with the outstanding institutions in the Big Ten. There is no finer conference in the nation that combines top-notch academics and athletics.”
Said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany: “The Big Ten Conference is pleased to announce that Rutgers University will soon join the conference family. 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. Both institutions feature a combination of academic and athletic excellence and will prove a great fit for our future.”
What does the Big Ten get in Rutgers? In three words: New York City. The TV sets, the media coverage if ever the Scarlet Knights were to win, and legitimate access to all the fine arenas and stadiums in and around the Big Apple should the Big Ten get a wild hair and, you know, try to play its basketball tournament in Brooklyn.
What does Rutgers get? A reason to try. The Scarlet Knights have long underachieved in athletics, and this underachievement, as it turns out, makes them attractive. The Big East offered little financial incentive for Rutgers to build new stadiums, recruit aggressively and pay coaches the kind of money necessary to keep them in the fold. But Big Ten cash gives Rutgers the excuse — and its notoriously strident faculty some CIC consolation money — to live up to its potential.
Far from Maryland — which is being ripped from a cozy, comfortable home in the ACC — Rutgers comes to the Big Ten a sly cat, ready to prowl. It’s an intriguing pickup for many of the opposite reasons that Maryland is a troubling one.
Now: Is the Big Ten done? Will it look to North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia or elsewhere? Can it force Notre Dame to reconsider its alliance with the ACC?