It's Official: Rutgers Joins The Big 10

By: USA Today Email
By: USA Today Email

In search of a stable financial position for its athletics department, Rutgers is leaving the Big East for the Big Ten conference.

The Big Ten unanimously accepted Rutgers as its 14th member today.

"It's a transformative event for the entire university," Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said. "It gives us long-term stability looking forward, access to the postseason and exposure."

For the Big Ten, Rutgers provides a television foothold in the New York/New Jersey market. The date when Rutgers will begin competing as a Big Ten team has not been determined.

"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. "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."

Rutgers has competed in the Big East since 1991. The move follows Maryland's announcement Monday that it was departing the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten in 2014.

Rutgers also plans to join its new conference in 2014, though 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.

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco issued a statement that coincided with the start of the Rutgers news conference that read, "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."

Much like Maryland, the Scarlet Knights' move is motivated by money.

In 2006, the school had to cut six varsity sports, including men's tennis and crew. As the football program has become a consistent winner — Rutgers has gone to a bowl six of the last seven years — the athletic department has received tens of millions in subsidies from the university.

In the Big Ten, the amount of revenue Rutgers receives from the league's television and media deals should quadruple in the short-term and could be even more than that in years to come.

The Big Ten reportedly paid its members about $24 million dollars last year. The Big East's payout to football members last year was $6 million.

In exchange, the Big Ten gets a member in the largest media market in the country, and new presence along the East Coast, with Rutgers and Maryland as north and south bookends.


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