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Rutgers Basketball: A Facilities Plan Draws Near

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Robert Barchi speaks, and it's GOOD NEWS

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Today, Keith Sargeant* and Ryan Dunleavy* broke a story that would be better off appearing on Christmas instead of April 1st.

*Click on the links for the full reads.  Totally worth it.

Robert Barchi said that Rutgers is very close to completing a plan for a major facilities upgrade.  The first phase of that athletic upgrade will include a basketball practice facility.  Rutgers, it seems, will start acting like a Big Ten school in June when the plan is presented to the Board of Governors.

Sargeant says that Eddie Jordan, Julie Hermann, Kyle Flood and C. Vivian Stringer have all be involved in the planning--which was spurred on by fan outrage (including uber State Senator Ray Lesniak) after a Court Club meeting back in Febraury.

Barchi told Dunleavy that Rutgers will do "whatever's necessary" for the school to compete in the Big Ten.  For fans of a basketball program that hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament in nearly 25 years and ended their season on a 15 game losing streak, a statement like that is a breath of optimism for Eddie Jordan and the program he's building.

Fundraising will play a key part, Barchi said, in Dunleavy's article:

"I'd be surprised if the state directly provided funds for this," Barchi said of the next round of upgrades, "but we're always looking for ways that parts of our facilities can be built through joint ventures or public-private partnerships or using funding that be directed toward a piece of what we're doing and provide synergy through it."

So, Rutgers basketball fans better be ready to open their wallet and support the school.  This is not going to come easily and there are still a lot of hurdles to clear.

But the first hurdle, the University Senate--who seem to be against the idea of facility upgrades--was touched on by Barchi in Sargeant's article.

"I know that they've been working on it (the Senate Report) for some time,'' Barchi said. "I just got it in. I haven't had a chance to read or digest it. I'm sure that there are some elements in there that we'll find helpful and useful and others with which we will find significant differences of opinion. We'll prepare a response for the Senate and the committee that worked on it. We appreciate the dialogue. We appreciate the time that people take to work on these things, and we appreciate that at the end of the day there won't be a unanimity of opinion. That's what universities are all about. We're going to take time looking at the report and have a thoughtful response for them.''

So, Rutgers seems to be getting their athletic act together, and are ready to be a Big Ten School.  There are still many hurdles to go, but maybe, just maybe, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

One that may lead to winning days ahead.