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Rutgers Leaving Big East For Big Ten

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Rutgers football (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Rutgers football (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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By RALPH D. RUSSO,  AP College Football Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Rutgers is leaving the Big East for the Big Ten
and cashing in on the school’s investment in a football program
that only 10 years ago seemed incapable of competing at the highest
level.

The school will make its decision official Tuesday at a news
conference on its campus in Piscataway, N.J., with Big Ten
Commissioner Jim Delany joined by Rutgers University President
Robert Barchi and athletic director Tim Perenetti.

Rutgers will leave the Big East, where it has been competing
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 will be the Big Ten’s 14th member.

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.

Whenever Rutgers enters the Big Ten, it will be the culmination
of one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college sports.

In 2002, the Scarlet Knights football team went 1-11 under
second-year coach Greg Schiano, who then seemed like the latest
coach incapable of reviving a program that had been the
laughingstock of major college football for more than a decade.

However, the team made steady improvement on the field as the
university made the huge financial commitments necessary to support
a major college football program.

Facilities were upgraded, the on-campus stadium was expanded and
as Schiano started to win, his salary began to rise into the
millions. Not everyone on campus embraced the idea of turning
Rutgers into a big-time football school, and it did come at a cost.

The expanded and renovated stadium cost of $102 million. The
school had hoped to raise the money through private donors, but
fell short. Rutgers scaled back plans for the expansion and issued
bonds and borrowed money to complete the project.

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.

Schiano left for the NFL last year, and Rutgers hired longtime
assistant Kyle Flood, who has the Scarlet Knights poised to take
make another big step in their development. No. 21 Rutgers (8-2) is
in position to win its first Big East championship and go to a BCS
game for the first time.

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.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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