Rutgers Jumps To Big Ten [POLL/VIDEO]
Rutgers University has made it official: the school is leaving the Big East for the Big Ten.
At a press conference on the Piscataway campus, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti described Rutgers joining the Big Ten as a “perfect storm” of relationships that will bring new value to the Big Ten “on all levels.”
“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 Pernetti.
“The Big Ten includes America’s most highly regarded academic institutions, known for both their athletic success and academic achievement,” said Rutgers President Robert Barchi in prepared remarks. “This is exactly the right conference for Rutgers. Our university is one of the nation’s leading research universities and our student-athletes excel in the classroom and on the playing field.”
“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,” said Commissioner James Delaney. “Both institutions feature a combination of academic and athletic excellence and will prove a great fit for our future.”
He did call observations that Rutgers puts the Big Ten in the New York TV market as being “overplayed.” Said Downing to a reporter from Fox Sports, a Big Ten partner, “We have not been guided by any television partner.”
The biggest factor, said Downing, was a “paradigm shift around country.
Townsquare New Jersey Sports Director Kevin Williams calls the move “monstrous” for Rutgers and described today as being the biggest single day in the school’s history.
Delaney said no final decisions have been made regarding which conference Rutgers and Maryland will play in when they become part of the league; their departure date is yet to be negotiated with the Big East. The Big East requires 27 months’ notification for departing members. The Scarlet Knights will have to negotiate a deal with the Big East to
leave early, the way Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia have done.
ESPN.com earlier reported that Rutgers will compete with Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Maryland in the Big Ten Legends Division.
Prunetti said there is a possibility of “infrequently” playing games at nearby Met Life Stadium and Yankee Stadium, stressing the team is happy with their current facilities. Playing games elsewhere was not a requirement of joining the Big Ten.
Prunetti was non-committal about bringing sports back to campus that had been cut due to concerns. In 2006, the school had to cut six varsity sports, including men’s tennis and crew. Maryland yesterday said that was a large reason for the Terps to jump to the Big Ten.
The move gives the Big Ten an even 14 teams joining schools like Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin. No date for Rutgers becoming part of the Big Ten was announced at the press conference.
“Although we are disappointed that Rutgers has decided to leave the Big East Conference, we wish them well,” Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “They have been a valued member of the Conference for many years.”
In leaving the Big East, the league Rutgers has been part of for the past 17 years, the school will see larger revenues up to $24million according to USA Today. Rutgers also faces a $10million exit fee from the Big East.
The Maryland Terrapins yesterday announced they are heading to the Big Ten after being a charter member of the ACC, which was founded in 1953. School president Wallace D. Loh and other university officials involved in the decision felt the potential money to be made in the Big Ten was more significant than the $50 million exit fee and the tradition associated with belonging to the ACC for 59 years.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said Maryland’s entry was approved unanimously by the conference’s 12 presidents.
STATEMENT FROM BIG EAST COMMISSIONER MIKE ARESCO
Although we are disappointed that Rutgers has decided to leave the Big East Conference, we wish them well. They have been a valued member of the Conference for many years.
We realize that conference realignment is currently a fact of life in college sports. In the context of this realignment, changes in our membership have been taking place, including important additions. In fact, the Big East has expanded its scope with new members in California, Texas, Florida, Idaho, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
As a result, the Big East has created a unique national football conference that is a factor in the BCS Championship, remains the nation’s strongest basketball conference top to bottom, and is a major force across the full spectrum of men’s and women’s college sports. We remain committed to, and confident in, the continued growth and vitality of the Big East Conference.
RUTGERS CONFERENCE HISTORY
- Middle Three Conference (1946-1951)
- With Lafayette and Lehigh
- Middle Atlantic Conference (1958-1961)
- Atlantic-10 Conference (1976-1995)
- All sports except football
- Big East (1991-1995)
- Football-only member
- Big East (1995-present)
- All sports
Source: Rutgers Athletics
The Associated Press contributed to this story.