Head coach Chris Ash didn’t take to the podium on day one of Big Ten Football Media Days, but plenty of Rutgers news was uncovered on Thursday. Credit Keith Sargeant and James Kratch if NJ Advance Media for breaking news on three important Rutgers stories while in Chicago for the two day event. Let’s review:
BTN President Francois McGillicuddy told the Star Ledger reporters after his formal address to the media contingent that the network was coming to Rutgers for the season opener against UMASS on August 30th.
The Big Ten Network pregame show is returning to Rutgers for opener against UMass. The BTN president explains why https://t.co/cOLQnYROO8 #B1GFootball #rutgers— Keith Sargeant (@KSargeantNJ) July 18, 2019
The only other time BTN’s pregame show has been to Rutgers on game day was when the Scarlet Knights hosted Penn State for its inaugural Big Ten game in 2014. McGillicuddy referenced the 150th anniversary of college football as the reason the network wanted to visit the birthplace this season. You can read the entire interview here.
In a story that has not been officially announced by the Big Ten, Kratch reported that Rutgers and Michigan are set to play a doubleheader in men’s basketball and wrestling at Madison Square Garden at a yet to be confirmed date this winter.
Rutgers is headed back to Madison Square Garden for a men's hoops/wrestling doubleheader against Michigan this winter, sources tell NJ Advance Media. https://t.co/QdTr667uyr— James Kratch (@JamesKratch) July 18, 2019
The league has held a “Super Saturday” event the last weekend of January the past four years, so it’s likely it will take place around that timeframe. Amazingly, Kratch reported that both matchups were expected to be counted as Michigan home contests. This is especially important for men’s basketball, as Rutgers won’t lose a home game at the RAC. That wasn’t the case three years ago when the Scarlet Knights played Wisconsin at the Garden and was considered the home team, despite the disparity in fans. While many Michigan fans should be expected to attend this season’s matchup at the Garden, they have to travel to the NYC area twice to play Rutgers. With the grind that is the Big Ten schedule, this can only help Steve Pikiell’s team, who are looking to make a significant climb up the conference standings this season. Read the full story here.
Lastly, Sarge broke the biggest story of the day, as AD Pat Hobbs confirmed to him that hall of fame women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer has returned from her months long leave of absence due to health issues. Thankfully, she appears to have recovered and will be set to lead the program once again.
It's not just football news here in Chicago. Here is the latest on Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer’s status with the women's basketball program. Pat Hobbs addresses whether the Hall of Fame coach is back after stepping away for health reasons: https://t.co/rQAHO1LhhA #rutgers— Keith Sargeant (@KSargeantNJ) July 18, 2019
Stringer returns to a team in transition but still with plenty of talent heading into next season. 5-star recruit Maori Davenport joins former McDonald’s All-American Zippy Broughton, all-conference performer Arella Guirantes and several others from a core that finished in third place in the Big Ten last season and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years. Welcome back coach! Read Hobbs’ interview with Sarge here.
In regard to day two of Big Ten Media Days, Ash is slated to step to the podium at 10:15 ET on Friday. The press conference will be shown live on BTN and we’ll post it with full analysis soon after.