Rutgers move to Big Ten all but official
by Keith Sargeant, USA TODAY Sports
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The Big East was on the brink of crumbling with four of its schools defecting for other conferences within a six-week span in the fall of 2011. Through it all, Tim Pernetti expressed confidence that Rutgers University would land in a better place once the dust settled on conference expansion.
“I think given our assets and our location, the New York TV market, our strong academic standing, and running a clean program with integrity,” Rutgers’ athletics director said in September 2011, “we will be well-positioned as the landscape continues to shift.”
Those words became prophetic Monday, when Rutgers’ move to the Big Ten became all but official. According to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, shortly after the University of Maryland joined the Big Ten following a vote by its governing board, Rutgers applied for Big Ten membership and will be accepted as 14th member of the prestigious conference at a Tuesday press conference.
Pernetti was unavailable to be interviewed until Tuesday, and Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi declined comment when asked about the university’s possible move to the Big Ten on Monday morning, preferring, he said, to discuss the two governing boards’ approved transfer to Rutgers of most of the schools, centers and institutes that make up the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
But their respective predecessors both weighed in on Rutgers finally having a stable conference home after 14 months of turmoil.
“I always felt that the academic institutions of the Big Ten, which are land-grant research and AAU universities, are a perfect fit with Rutgers,” former Rutgers athletics director Bob Mulcahy said. “It’s going to bring prominence to the entire university.”
Former Rutgers President Richard McCormick agreed, calling it a banner day for the university.
“I’m extremely proud of where Rutgers is on Nov. 19, 2012,” said McCormick, who stepped down in June after serving as Rutgers president for 10 years. “Both of these developments are a culmination of many years of effort across the university community. Fourteen months ago when Pitt and Syracuse withdrew from the Big East, I think it was … [For more on Rutgers move to Big Ten all but official, click here.]