Rutgers to become 14th member of the Big Ten conference

Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood leads his team Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood leads his team onto the field for a game against Cincinnati. (Nov. 17, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers is joining the parade of college athletic programs changing conferences, and jumping to the Big Ten.

Rutgers president Robert Barchi, athletic director Tim Pernetti and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany officially announced the school as the 14th member of the Big Ten at a news conference on the school's campus Tuesday.

"The Big Ten is really where Rutgers belongs," Barchi said.

The trio said they've already discussed playing at MetLife Stadium or even Yankee Stadium when college football powerhouses such as Ohio State and Michigan come east to play the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers hopes to begin competition across all sports in 2014, although the Big East requires 27 months notification for departing schools. The deal came a day after Maryland said it would join the Big Ten for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Rutgers and the Big Ten officials described it as a win-win. Rutgers is poised to quadruple its share of TV/media revenues to $24 million in the richer Big Ten vs. $6 million in the struggling Big East. The Big Ten, meanwhile, gets access to millions of potential new TV viewers in the New York and Washington D.C. markets.

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Pernetti said joining the Big Ten "means stability in an unstable time. It's secured our future as an athletic program and a university."

Even before the announcement, phones were ringing off the hook at Rutgers' ticket office, said Pernetti, a New Jersey native and former Scarlet Knights tight end. Besides increased media revenue, the move should provide a "tremendous" boost to ticket, food and merchandising sales as well as donations and sponsorships, Pernetti said.

"All boats float up. It's going to create revenues on a lot of fronts," Pernetti said. "Right now, all everybody's really talking about is the conference revenue piece. It's a key component. But it's a component."

Eric LeGrand, the ex-Knight paralyzed while making a tackle in 2010, thought it was a smart move for a program that struggles to sell out its own stadium to take on schools with large national followings such as Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.

"It's definitely going to bring a lot more fans to the games," LeGrand said.

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