clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Another track

Let's face it: the Big Ten isn't calling any time soon. Any discussions about this topic are purely in the realm of speculation. With that said, kudos to Jerry Carino at least for trying to play the devil's advocate on this topic. I agree with many of his points. Not all though; I don't think much of Big Ten football on the field, and wanted to respond to two other arguments.

It's not a pot of gold. Some meaty figures have been thrown around, like how the Big Ten shares $150 million among its schools — twice what the Big East has to offer. But when you factor in the threefold travel costs for at least 20 varsity programs, the net gain is much more modest. Is there more money to be had? Yes. Tons more? No, not enough to mitigate the next nine reasons.

That's just it; Rutgers University and its athletic department (even if Pernetti turns out to be a brilliant fundraiser) are relatively cash poor at the moment. The school is in a position where it can't even reject a miniscule gain. I hate the Big Ten and everything that a move would represent, and still am forced to conclude that RU's hands would be absolutely tied.

In practice, this is what Carino sees every time he goes into the RAC's aging locker rooms. A hypothetical move would be a further blow to already beleaguered basketball programs (although I can't help but wonder if the men would fare far better in the weaker Big Ten), but that's just acknowledging the obvious. Every day Rutgers fans shrug their shoulders and implicitly support the general path of the past decade. Football is the sport that brings in the most television dollars. The Big East may be king of the hill in basketball, but that's, comparatively, a pittance to rights fees for the SEC and Big Ten.


The Big East is doing just fine. It's not perfect, but it has a BCS bid, the nation's premier conference basketball tournaments and a diverse membership with (mostly) reputable academic institutions. There are some warts, but Rutgers can help dictate its direction, especially in football. The Scarlet Knights would have zero influence in the Big Ten.

As a basketball writer, he may understand how football is a much higher priority than basketball at Rutgers, and (consequently or not), far more popular. However, the current level of discontent in New Jersey towards the Big East goes beyond that. Ideally there would be an all sports, worry-free Eastern league where God's in His heaven and so on. Not the 16-team, fractured behemoth where Rutgers is sent to third tier bowls, and tiny Providence College has a stranglehold on the commissioner's office. Now, everyone has to be patient and see where the chips fall over the next few months, because he's correct in saying that the situation will improve to an extent.

Any new entrant won't have any influence in the Big Ten, but neither does Joe Paterno, or anyone besides Michigan and Ohio State for that matter. The conference would have a lot at stake at making sure a twelth member succeeded though. I also like the idea of former CSTV exec Tim Pernetti being the pointman for television regardless of where we're at in the near future.