Big Day for Rutgers
On Tuesday, thousands of Rutgers fans and alumni will celebrate The Scarlet Knight’s induction into the Big Ten Conference with “R B1G Party.” The free event will start at 7 p.m. and feature live performances and speeches from Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Rutgers President Robert Barchi and Athletic Director Julie Hermann.
The Star-Ledger reports that the conference switch will induce tougher rivalries and new opponents, along with higher stakes due to the direct spotlight on their athletic program.
The University has waited 588 days since its initial introductory press conference to be admitted. Although this monumental inclusion has much to do with athletics, other programs are hoping to reap the benefits of being a part of such a prestigious league as well.
“It will be a great experience for New Jersey. As one of the leading research universities in the United States and the birthplace of intercollegiate football, it’s fitting that Rutgers have a football team that competes at the highest level of collegiate athletics,” Assemblyman Burzichelli (D-West Deptford) said in an emailed press release Tuesday. Burzichelli sponsored a bill in 2003 urging Rutgers University to maintain Division 1 football.
“The more teams win, the more excitement there is about the university, the more applications go up, the more the brand of the university is enhanced, and then the student-athlete experience is expanded.” Greg Brown, chairman of the Rutgers Board of Governors, said in an interview with myCentralJersey.com.
“The Big Ten just provides a world-class resource base for our students and faculty that we just didn’t have before,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi told myCentralJersey.com. “Our cancer center is now part of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. This is an opportunity for us to be involved big-time with education and research with a group of schools who we consider to be our aspirational peers.”
The conference shift may seem strange at first, but it will become normal over time as long as Rutgers performs, academically and athletically, up to par with the 13 other Big Ten Conference schools.
In an interview with NJBIZ, Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann highlights the good and the bad of the move. “We can be nationally competitive in all sports, (but), there are going to be some gaps (in talent level).”
Although nerves are high, devout fans have taken to twitter to show their support and excitement for the team under the hashtag #RutgersIsB1G.
Tonight’s event will commence with an elaborate fireworks display over High Points Solutions Stadium to celebrate the start of a new era.