The Bishin Cutter wrote:
I get why they look good on paper...I just wish they'd have been vetted better.
There were some revelations that resulted after the B1G committed to adding Rutgers. The public relations going into the B1G for Rutgers got a bit cloudy given some of the controversies that happened along that timeline.
When Pitt and Syracuse were announced that they would be joining the ACC, I remember posting on this board shortly afterwards an article concerning the administration at Rutgers telling their upset fans 'that Rutgers shall be fine'. Rutgers knew then that a future B1G invite was in the works.
I believe the B1G was aware of Rutgers' prior baggage (all schools have some baggage one way or another), but as indicated, chose to focus on what looked good and what they saw as potential. The B1G's leadership messages about Rutgers emphasizes 'the future'. It is somewhat of a gamble. If Rutgers fails to step-it-up, or keep pace, Rutgers will not be fulfilling the expectations of the B1G's eastern initiative. In fairness to Rutgers, that's a tall order whereby their sport's history suggests certain limitations in what they may be able to deliver on a bigger time level. In this regard, similar perspectives could be conveyed about Maryland, though not as intense. At the minimum, the B1G wants those broadcasting networks to have signed contracts as carriers of B1G sports on basic coverage throughout the northeastern USA. The B1G is pretty much getting that from the moves they've made. The real measure will be actual viewership and on-site attendance figures. Of all the B1G schools, I think Penn State may be in the best position to take advantage of all this.
Here is an article from The Columbus Dispatch that includes the B1G line about having expanded with Rutgers (Todd Jones, 7/13/2014):http://buckeyextra.dispatch.com/content ... uture.html
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It was a bit of a tell when the "don't worry" bit came out. It was suspected (though I don't know if ever fully confirmed) that Rutgers really started pursuing the "Big Ten track" right after/during the Penn State courtship. Like, sent the Big Ten offices a flashy video and all of these statistics on media worth/potential, travel proximity (far better than what University Park had/has going for it), and its academic traditions. The work on the football and basketball venues, though not the programs themselves per se, were rumored to be Big Ten-driven or mandated.
I don't know if they applied to the ACC after the Pitt/Syracuse panic. I don't know if its ever been confirmed who applied right after, other than UConn, WVU, Louisville, Cincinnati, USF, and maybe some of the hoops schools (VU rumored, and I don't know who else). It would be EXTREMELY hypocritical if Rutgers did apply, was turned down, and kept the door open for the Big Ten, as it may be that Missouri was looked upon less than favorably for its work with other suitors. I don't know.
But Rutgers...it's the name I've heard circling around the Big Ten membership rumor circles for a very long time. Even before I really started snooping out message boards and other stories, I remember hearing them come up from other people here and there. Just after Nebraska, even, that the very next target was Notre Dame, and ND's companion was nobody else but Rutgers. I was floored how absolute people projected it. And, while it's no Notre Dame, all it did take was Maryland, and Rutgers was instantly added for #14 (though they could have been #12 or #13 given how long they were in the queue waiting). The NJ governor, just a few months prior to the announcement, did his own campaigning for the school, justifying the "massive" spending on sports (which is nothing compared to the other Big Ten schools) as its own recruiting device. I think he knew it was coming.
The spending concerns are legitimate, though. To get to Big Ten levels, even closer to the respectable ones on the low end, Rutgers is looking to put down at least $10-15m to get it more up to speed. Where is that money coming from, if their buy-in isn't front-loaded, or there isn't a travel subsidy? There's no guarantee the UMDNJ merger is even going to work (the faculty are against it, which isn't a good sign, with or without Big Ten distinction potentially assisting academic recruitment and enrollment), and the price tag on that is going to be hefty. It seems like part of the bill is already falling on the very fans who kept Rutgers an attractive candidate: season ticket prices skyrocketed, as did parking, as well as a lot of downgrades for people who've been in the system for years.
Rutgers has done a lot of work to make itself more attractive, and while it's somewhat commendable, they're still not there. They're years away, and by that I mean at least a decade still. I know their landscape had changed, and I'm sure the Big Ten would have made them wait if there were other, better programs looking to get into the conference (I doubt Rutgers would have gotten their spot if UNC, UVA, GT, Texas, or Notre Dame were all willing and able; you don't make those guys wait for the likes of Rutgers).
But...I'm a merit guy. That's why I've got such a bur under my saddle for some of this expansion stuff. Rutgers, UCF (or any directional FL school, for that matter), the stiffing of ECU for so long, SMU over Memphis...wth?! You got the likes of Rutgers, TCU, Utah, and Louisville all floating around as majors, and I'm not sure they deserve to be there, and that the line should be clearly drawn at this mark and let the rest rot on the vine or sit in their appropriate level (like Pitt in the ACC when they are B1G-worthy, or Utah and Rutgers as PAC and B1G institutions). It's puzzling.