Rutgers headed to Big Ten
Rutgers headed to Big Ten
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers is joining the Big Ten, leaving the Big East behind 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 announced its decision Tuesday at a campus news conference attended by Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Rutgers President Robert Barchi and athletic director Tim Perenetti.“The Big Ten is really where Rutgers belongs,” Barchi said.
Rutgers has been competing in the Big East since 1991. But the league has been picked apart by conference realignment, and the Scarlet Knights were looking for a way out.
They landed in the best possible spot. A spot that seemed unthinkable a decade ago when Rutgers football was a Big East cellar-dweller.
“It’s a transformative day for Rutgers University,” Pernetti said.
The move follows Maryland’s announcement Monday that it was joining 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.
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 a college football laughingstock for more than a decade.
The team, however, made steady improvement as the university made the huge financial commitment necessary to support major college football.
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 with a big price tag.
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 team 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. No. 21 Rutgers (9-1) 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 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 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.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
Rutgers Football Lands Best Class Ever Despite Coaching Change
Rutgers University had a great National Signing Day this February 1st. Fresh off the appointment of Kyle Flood as the head coach, some of the best players in the State of Rutgers sent in their signed letters of intent to play football for the Scarlet Knights. At first glance the shining stars of this class look to be the teammates from USA Today national champion Don Bosco Prep; Darius Hamilton and Leonte Carroo. Hamilton, son of former NFL star Keith Hamilton, is a 5 star defensive end prospect who had offers from every big name school in the country. Carroo is a standout wide receiver with another long list of offers. Both decided to stay home and continue to build something special in NJ. Both were also US Army All-Americans, and will be incredible representatives of the program and the university.
However, the most impressive additions to me are the offensive line prospects we’re getting. Given that has been a struggling unit over the past few seasons (though improved in 2011) it is great to see some big time road graders come to The Banks. Chris Muller (another US Army All-American), Ryan Brodie, J.J. Denman, Brandon Arcidiacono, Derrick Nelson, and Maryland transfer R.J. Dill are going to lead the way to championships for Rutgers in the very, very near future. The old saying is that it starts up front, and if that’s the case then we’re setup very nicely. Coach Flood’s enthusiasm was barely containable when speaking about the O line recruits during his NSD press conference. I love seeing the passion he has for the job!
All of the recruits this year are outstanding;
Ruhann Peele is the do-everything-with-the-ball stud from Linden High School.
Desmon Peoples, Brandon’s teammate from Pennsylvania state champ Archbishop Wood is another skill guy who has no trouble finding the endzone.
Carlton Agudosi is a 6’6” wide receiver from Somerset. I can’t wait to see what a defense is going to do with him, 6’6” Brandon Coleman, and 6’4” Mark Harrison lined up. Oh and we’ll throw world class speedster Miles Shuler in the mix too. Someone’s scoring boys!
The potential bookend for Hamilton is Julian Pinnix-Odrick, a defensive end from Montclair. I predict JPO and Hamilton to be showing up in opposing QBs nightmares for a few seasons to come.
Quanzell Lambert is a big, thumping mike backer that is going to terrorize running backs. Besides, in an age of lazy nicknames (initials aren’t a nickname, people!), how can you not love a kid called QUANZILLA?!?
I’m not going to list all of the recruits, and that should not be taken as a sign of disrespect. As a Rutgers fan I’m proud of all of these young men, and can’t wait to see them kicking ass and hoisting trophies on The Banks! They are part of a class that every major recruiting service in the country ranks in the top 25 in the nation. Football season cannot come soon enough!!
Dear Coach Schiano,
Thank you. Now that the initial shock and knee-jerk reactions over your decision to take the head coach position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has given way to rational thought, it is time to reflect and thank you for all you’ve done for Rutgers. Your leaving is saddening, but in a selfish way. Saddening because the job seems unfinished. Though you didn’t get us over the hump to a conference championship and BCS bowl game, it is because of you that we can actually have those realistic aspirations to begin with. Your vision, your belief in the University and the players in the State of Rutgers has led us to national respectability and a 5-1 bowl record.
Additionally you’ve accomplished this while maintaining the highest standards of personal ethics; not only for yourself but for your coaches and players as well. Your players didn’t just survive the academic rigors at Rutgers University, they excelled in them. From Draddy Award nominees to the nation’s best APR ranking, you’ve shown that the young men you’ve recruited to represent this school are of the highest caliber on the field and in the classroom. You’ve proven that Rutgers is indeed a path to the NFL, and absolutely a path to a great education for a student athlete. Through your tenure even cynical New Jerseyans have embraced your creation. You can’t drive anywhere in the tri-state area without seeing the Block R everywhere. You’ve provided a source of pride for the state, and something other than The Sopranos and Jersey Shore for people to associate with us. That in and of itself is a great accomplishment.
Outstanding linebacker and Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year Khaseem Greene used the word “bittersweet” when asked how he felt today. That’s appropriate, because while I wish you much success (except when playing against my Raiders), I hate to see you go. So thank you Coach, for leaving us better than you found us, and laying the foundation for great things to come. Good luck as you Keep Choppin through this next challenge.
Francis Kicking Butt At East/West Shrine Practices
The lone defensive end standout has been Rutgers’ Justin Francis (6-2/270). Other than being the West’s most vocal defender, Francis slashes in from the edge and has consistently beaten offensive tackles to the spot. Francis finds contact through his hands, but too often guesses on plays, allowing cutback lanes to open after he gets upfield. Francis has a Charles Johnson frame, so leverage is not an issue. He just needs to focus.
Desmond Wynn Impresses at East/West Shrine Practice
Projected Round: 5th-7th
OG Desmond Wynn (6’5”, 305), Rutgers: Wynn has been rising up some draft boards with a strong senior season. He’s got a good frame and shows really good base and quickness. Consistency seems to be his biggest problem, but his draft stock is rising. He looks like the type of player that a team will look to develop given his raw tools. (note: he is worth drafting just to make my caption for the picture come true)
Sanu’s Value Climbing
In his first mock draft , ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. has Sanu going No. 26 to the Houston Texans. Kiper also has Sanu rated as the No. 4 receiver available in the draft. Kiper says this of Sanu in his mock draft write-up:
Sanu is the type of guy who can stretch the field and be a huge threat across from (Andre) Johnson. And when you consider that Johnson will be 31 entering the 2012 season, the Texans need this kind of presence around if he misses any more time. Sanu is hugely productive, creates space, has good speed and can contribute early.
Since 2000, the only year the Big East did not have a first-round pick in the NFL draft was 2006. This class does not seem particularly strong. If you look at the top 5 players Kiper ranked at each position, the Big East only has two — Sanu and West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin, rated as an outside linebacker.