A Big Day For The Rutgers Scarlet Knights [VIDEO]
If you are not a college sports fan it’s likely you’ll have little or no reaction to the news that Rutgers University is about to depart the Big East Conference and become the newest member of the Big Ten Conference which will actually have 14 schools but will still be called the Big Ten because Big Fourteen doesn’t sound right.
The move is expected today with a press conference in Piscataway at some point in which you will see a lot of smiling faces from those wearing red and white. By the way that same scene took place Monday as University of Maryland officials said goodbye to the Atlantic Coast Conference after nearly six decades and hello to the Big Ten beginning with the 2014 school year.
While it may seem unimportant I truly believe November 20, 2012 is going to be the most significant date in the history of Rutgers athletics or at worst second behind November 6, 1869 when they played Princeton in what is considered the first game that resembled college football.
There is a lot more at stake with today’s developments and not just for the football program and athletic department because the move to the Big Ten will be great for the school both financially and academically.
Let’s face it. Rutgers has known for some time it had to get out of the crumbling Big East which barely resembles the all-sports conference that the Scarlet Knights joined in 1995. The school has watched Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia and Notre Dame leave or announce exit plans and the thought was that poor Rutgers was a school with little or no options.
Ironically moving to the Big Ten might make Rutgers the biggest winner in all of the shifting that’s taken place in recent years.
First the school ties in with a conference that has a very strong academic reputation which will please professors and others. However what follows is a financial windfall in TV and other revenue which should help Rutgers get to a point quickly where the athletic program can sustain itself and not depend on school subsidies, a big issue in New Brunswick.
Right now Rutgers gets about $6 million a year from the current Big East TV contract but in just a couple of years Big Ten schools expect to collect more than $30 million a year. In addition football fans will welcome the chance to host games against the likes of Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin as opposed to South Florida, Cincinnati and Temple.
The move might not be greeted so warmly by the basketball side but the bottom line is Rutgers will emerge a big winner when it’s all said a done.