like that, we're pretty sure you're. . . from where exactly?
Rutgers Makes One Kind Of Sense, I Guess
HA HA HA! I AM A GENIUS YOU! PROBABLY DON'T GET IT
Let me provide some excessively late opinion on the recent flurry of Big Ten expansion articles. Article one indicates that a very expensive consultant has given the thing a thumbs-up with five schools mentioned as primary targets:
A source inside the league told the Tribune that the report, prepared by the Chicago-based investment firm William Blair & Company, analyzed whether five different schools would add enough revenue to justify expanding the league beyond 11 teams.
"The point was: We can all get richer if we bring in the right team or teams," the source said.
The five analyzed were Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers. The source, though, called those five "the obvious suspects" and cautioned that other universities could earn consideration.
Someone got paid for this. I bet they yoinked the Grid of Judgment.
Anyway, that article comes with a big photo of the Rutgers mascot. Wha? Well, Teddy Greenstein—who I am suspicious of in this matter since he's the guy throwing those blind quotes about a 14 or 16 team Big Ten around—then claims Rutgers as the most likely school according to "consensus among Big Ten sources, officials from other conferences, and TV executives." I've also gotten some emails from a guy plugged into what's going on at Rutgers who says there have already been serious talks.
I don't get it. You look at this list of criteria proposed by Greenstein and try to find a way in which Rutgers makes the most sense:
- Revenue. "Having a large and full football stadium is key. A basketball arena, too." Fail, fail. "But a bigger factor might be the television market." Maybe. More about this later.
- Geography. Rutgers is adjacent to Pennsylvania, I guess, but it's ten hours from Ann Arbor. The closest school is Penn State, which is four hours from Rutgers. It is a better fit than Texas, but not by much. Ten conference members are flying to Rutgers every time.
- Academics. Meh? Rutgers is not in the AAU. [Update: Oops. They are.]
- Recruiting. I don't think recruiting matters at all since adding a new team to the Big Ten isn't going to significantly change conference perception unless it's Texas or maybe Notre dame. But it's hard to see what Rutgers brings to the table there other than the occasional New Jersey football recruit. It might actually become harder to recruit in Jersey if Rutgers becomes more attractive as a Big Ten member.
Literally the only thing Rutgers brings to the table is the New Jersey/New York media market, and it's unclear how much pull RU actually has there. The Big Ten had to fight tooth and nail to get the BTN on in places where the college kids are the biggest game in town. Rutgers is at best the tenth banana in the NYC/NJ pecking order. They are behind the Jets, Giants, Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Yankees, Mets, Devils, Nets. Maybe they're more important than the Nets.
An area cable company could risk ignoring the BTN. Then what do you have? A school whose grandest bowl victory was probably a Texas Bowl demolition of Kansas State. Meanwhile, the basketball team hasn't made the tournament since 1991. I'm all for laughing maniacally as the Big Ten methodically steals a dollar a month from 18 million New Yorkers who don't even know what the BTN is, but I doubt Rutgers has that kind of cachet. Greenstein tries to prove that they do by citing that one game against Louisville which drew an 8.1. Sure, "when Rutgers wins" they are popular. They have been popular once since 1869.
Greenstein's other reasons are meaningless: they have an airport. They played a football game in 1869. Delany is from New Jersey. And they would leave the Big East. They've got some tenuous ability to bring TV markets. In literally every other way they are inferior to Missouri.
There is also a fawning profile in a Chicago business magazine that Orson should definitely not read unless he wants blood to run out of his eyes:
Colleagues describe Mr. Delany as restless and fearless. Those traits were apparent in 2007, when he formed the Big Ten Network, the nation's first conference-owned cable channel.
Anyway, that article has some quotes in direct opposition to Greenstein's "this is definitely happening" stance. Penn State president Graham Spanier:
"The folks in the media have gone a little bit crazy with this," he says. "There's a very good chance we won't expand at all. This is just a question we ask ourselves every few years. We don't feel we're under any pressure to expand."
"A little bit crazy" indicates that Spanier hasn't delved into the real speculation where Texas joins the Big Ten, brings half of the Big 12 along with it, and invades Mars.
1. Rutgers is a very good academic school that would slot in nicely in the Big Ten. It has no money from state support, and has had to lower its selectivity (hence, hurting the US News and whatever rankings) as a result by admitting a ton of students to make up the difference. However, anyone who tries to knock the overall quality of education there is ignorant and/or lying. They also run a squeaky clean athletic department and have an unparalleled academic support structure for football.
2. Rutgers would bring the BTN to basic cable in New Jersey. The question is whether or not they bring the other side of NYC metro across the Hudson. If the answer is yes, then the math works and they're in. Basically this all depends on getting the go-ahead from Time Warner and Cablevision in New York City. The new athletic director is a former television executive at ABC and CBS Sports. He's another Brandon, and doing wonders for fundraising and upgrading the overall stature of the athletic department (facilities, olympic sports, etc...)
A lot of the other comments about fan support, and quality of athletic programs are not exactly truthful. I'll leave it at that, but most of the popular perceptions on both topics are dead wrong.
Looks like there are some Rutgers trolls here. Those with a local perspective need to set them straight.
First, Rutgers has been on academic decline ever since they ran out of money and had to become the state university of NJ. Low endowment, low alumni support, poor reputation (safety school) and a huge financial crises in the state means more decline in the future IMO.
If we're going on academic potential, then Pitt makes the most sense.
If it is one team I would go with MO or NE both Midwest b12 schools that would balance out the western division of the b10. If we take 3 schools, I would let Pitt in the eastern division and then two of the following from either MO, NE or OK. I doubt if ND will ever join.
The next Big Ten school should have these defining traits: (1) a university endowment on par with member schools, (2) proximity to member schools to encourage travel, (3) established sports market for merch, commercial sales, ticket sales, (4) rankings competitive with the bottom 25% of member schools; and (5) a sizable alumni base.
Out of the NE schools we're giving a hard look to, only Rutgers fails to achieve an endowment of over $1 Billion. Every current Big10 member school has an endowment of over $1 Billion. Rutgers' annual endowment is approx. $650 Million. Pitt: $2.25 Billion (would be the 4th highest endowment in the Big10 today behind Minny and ahead of OSU). 'Cuse: $1.04 Billion (just edging out Iowa, the lowest Big10 endowment earner with an annual endowment of approx. $1B). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Ten_Conference.
Re: proximity, giving a hard look to the NE schools again, Pitt and 'Cuse also provide a fair ease of travel to encourage fans to make the trip out west. 'Cuse is right on I90, I94 for a direct 7 hour road trip to Ann Arbor. 'Cuse is similarly about 7.25 hours from Columbus, and a mere 2.5 hrs. from PSU. Pitt however steals this category: 4.5 hrs. away from Ann Arbor, 3 hrs. from Columbus, and is obviously close to PSU. Rutgers has a clear disadvantage, and NJ smells like sewer water. See Googlemaps.
Re: the NE sports market, I don't have the figures on hand, but I'd put a stake on 'Cuse leading the group of 3 including Rutgers and Pitt. See any sports bar in the NY/CT/NJ area. Count orange shirts during a 'Cuse game, compared to Pitt people for a Pitt game, compared to Rutgers people for a Rutgers game. It's going to be 'Cuse every time.
Re: academics: according to US News & World Report of National Universities, Pitt gets the nod at 56th best, 'Cuse is a close second at 58th, and Rutgers is ranked 66th. All pretty close in stature. For frame of reference, Michigan was ranked 27th this year.
Re: alumni base, Pitt enrolled 27,600 students last year, 'Cuse enrolled 19,400, and Rutgers enrolled 36,000. Rutgers takes the category. But note, for all those students getting graduated, Rutgers still sustained the lowest endowment. These Jersey alumni apparently don't like to give back. Pitt seems to have the most supportive alums by math comparing endowment to student body; 'Cuse is a close 2nd, Rutgers a VERY distant 3rd.
It's a very close call between Pitt and 'Cuse. My personal take is written elsewhere in this thread: being a native NYer, who has lived very close to both CT and NJ my whole life, I think 'Cuse should get the nod. Pitt seems to be the 'on paper' pick, though I don't think they have the upside of Syracuse.
I'd also like to add that NJ is in the midst of a severe financial crises akin (if not worse, if you measure per capita debt) than California. Rutgers is going to suffer cuts. And their alums are notoriously cheap, as your figures indicate.
Mike Rothstein of Annarbor.com, a New York state resident and Syracuse alum, said in response to my question this morning that, based on his knowledge of the University and Athletic Department, it's very unlikely that SU would leave the Big East for the B10. As others have mentioned here, SU is primarily a basketball school, and Boeheim has already stated his strong opposition to moving. Boeheim isn't just a garden-variety successful coach—he carries a lot of weight on campus. One factor in this is that SU recruits mostly on the east coast, and given the basketball schools in the Big East, this means that parents and relatives of the SU players can see alot of the conference games. Moving to the Big Ten means games in far-flung Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, which means in turn that all of a sudden the parents and friends of the players have dramatically fewer chances to see their kids play. This is not an insignificant thing for the AD to consider.
In addition, Rothstein also mentioned that SU has a longstanding and successful tradition in lacrosse. Lax has always been stronger in the east than in the midwest, and while it's not a revenue sport, it's highly regarded at SU and the athletic dept people would be extremely reluctant to move to a lesser schedule.
Later Bill Martin came on the air, and he touched a bit on expansion. He specifically mentioned that academics are extremely important for those ultimately making the decision —the college presidents—and it would be very difficult for a school that's not a member of the Association of American Universities to join the conference. This is not news, but this means people still suggesting Cincinnati, Louisville, and other non-AAU schools are going to be disappointed.
Martin also mentioned the question of geography. There have been plenty of people here who've blithely dismissed the issue of distance and its impact on travel costs, but Martin specifically confirmed that for ADs managing 25 varsity teams this is a huge issue for financial reasons, and he did this while referring to suggestions that the conference expand much further to the west or the south. It's obvious he was referring to Texas, and IMHO probably Missouri. This means that the issue of expanding the B10 footprint is balanced with the downside of increased travel costs.
Speaking of Missouri, I've read that Gary Pinkel is not in favor of moving to the Big Ten because he's developed a good recruiting base in Texas. He can lure kids to Columbia because every year there are going to be conference games somewhere in Texas so their parents/family/friends can see them play at least a few times. If Missouri moves to the B10, then recruiting in the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas is going to be more difficult.
Assuming ND is still off the table, my money for expansion is still on Pitt.
Rutgers may be their go-to, if it's just one. Otherwise, add Pitt and Mizzou. Syracuse has never been in the picture.
People here are (unsurprisingly) downplaying academics, and up-playing their prejudices and preconceptions. ('Guidos' is funny, until you know that N. Jersey has the country's highest per capita income; Monmouth County, where I come from, is horse country.) The presidents will also look at potential, which is harder to discern from here. Finally, re: travel. . . Newark airport could well be cheaper to fly into from Detroit than Pittsburgh or. . . gosh sakes Columbia, etc.
When any of these teams is kicking our behind in the not-too-distant future, don't say some of us didn't tell you. Rutgers was on the cusp a little while ago, and many people wanted their coach. . .
Whether SU would go isn't even a question. There are 22 million reasons why.
This ad campaign isn't purely a coincidence...
And by the way, Syracuse is the highest ranked school academically in the Big East.
ignores logic. What I meant was that Syracuse has never come up as a possibility from official sources. Fine to argue your sentimental favorite(s), but base it in something other than a wishful ad campaign. I've lived in NY and NJ; I know Syracuse has a fanbase. A lot of people also hate them.
P.S. If Syracuse comes, I will look up your i.d. and send you a certificate for a nice dinner somewhere in A2.
And don't forget that the actual article that started this whole post cited that Syracuse was one of the five that the investigation targeted...
"According to the newspaper report, the source said the five schools evaluated by the firm William Blair & Company were Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Missouri, Syracuse and Rutgers, though others also could be considered."
somehow failed to notice; Syracuse had not been part of most earlier conversations because of Boeheim's negativity to the idea. I would, in fact, be most amenable to Syracuse's entry.
Basketball-wise, Syracuse fans don't want to move to the Big Ten since it's seen as a mediocre basketball conference and we wouldn't really care about Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, however, we would about Michigan, MSU, Ohio State, and Indiana (and Purdue given they're good). Boeheim isn't in favor either, but it's not his call.
However, the money is what it's about and our athletic director and chancellor (Nancy Cantor, formerly of Michigan and Illinois) are definitely campaigning to go to the Big Ten.
The general consensus if Rutgers goes, among SU fans and the rest of the Big East, is that it's the least valuable school to the Big East and would be a terrible move on the Big Ten's part.
like a very tough basketball conference--not sure it's less tough than the Big East, in fact, matched team-for-team. And it would boost them in football. Lloyd might love the idea. I still think playing into the New York market boosts the B10 hugely in the long term. Also did not know Syracuse was looked on so well academically.
Personally I would also be very happy to let Notre Dame remain on the outside looking in, cut its own throat. Down the road they will wish. . .
I appreciate the vote of confidence. I went to both SU and Michigan so obviously I'm biased, but the idea of Rutgers being even considered makes my brain want to asplode. SU coming into the Big House and Michigan rolling into the Carrier Dome would be awesome every year.
Our football team will be back, we got rid of Greg Robinson.
On Orbitz, flying non-stop economy from Det to Newark is $314.
flying non-stop economy from Det to Pitt is $320.
no non-stop flights directly from Detroit to Columbia, MO were available; you have to go through Memphis on Delta. Cost is $291.
What this means in the context of Martin's statements about travel costs, I don't know. I assume that teams fly via charter often, esp. squads like football hockey, and baseball. Do raw distances become more of an issue in those cases?
I don't think Baseball teams charter flights. Even in the more "major" southern and western conferences, rain on a Sunday can lead to shorter games as teams have to rush to catch flights.
I have to correct some of what you said. First off, horse country is in Northern Somerset and Southern Morris counties. Monmouth county is down by the shore, is at best Central Jersey and I think it's part of the shore. Not even close to "North Jersey." Go to those beach towns in Monmouth and you will see plenty of Guidos. Furthermore, I've always thought of Monmouth County as the working class county in NJ (listen to Springsteen's "My Hometown"). Finally, per capita income is misleading. While the per capita income throughout NJ is high, the cost of living is also very high.
Monmouth does contain part of the shore, but head inland. All of the communities west of Sea Bright and Sandy Hook are super wealthy (see Rumson and Fair Haven). Freehold, where Bruce grew up, is a working town surrounded by horse country. In fact, his home in Tinton Falls is surrounded by horse farms. Check it out on a map. Yeah, it's median income (in fact), and that is only part of the story. And no, it's definitely not N. Jersey--it's an hour and five on the train, commute from NYC. But Eatontown in Monmouth, for ex., lost more people in the WTC disaster than any other Jersey town.
The guido thing is just a bit overplayed, imho. Best. . .
Has anybody ever talked about the University of Virginia? Would they consider leaving the ACC?
They would be a cool addition.
Vince Lombardi's alma mater could make the jump from the FCS. He was one of their "Seven Blocks of Granite" in the 1930s.
Just kidding, but wouldn't that be awesome? The Big Ten takes a Catholic school, but not ND. That would serve them right.
My wife is a student there and would love that. Of course, the Rams are not what you'd like to call a A-10 "power", but it would still be fun to see some of the Big 10 teams schlep out to the Bronx and maybe stop by the NY Botanical garden.
This might have been stated before (I didn't read all 120+ posts), but the BTN is available for something like $5 on Cablevision in the New York/New Jersey area (it is part of the sports package), and I believe it is also available on Time Warner and DirectTV, so alumni who care certainly have access.
The thought that comes to mind when I think about Rutgers is competitive disadvantage.
As others have noted, Rutgers doesn't really have a sports tradition. The football program has been, at best, mediocre the past few years, which I guess is an upgrade over decades of crap, but they are not going to give the conference a shot in the arm like adding PSU did. Most good schools recruit nationally anyway, and New Jersey has been a hotbed for schools like PSU and OSU for years, and I doubt that will change much if Rutgers switches conferences. They'll still be at a competitive disadvantage against more storied programs on the recruiting trail, and I doubt they're increased exposure in places in Ohio and Illinois will help them much.
As for basketball, they have been in the bottom half of the Big East for decades, and going from the Big East to the Big 10 in terms of recruiting and access to talent is probably a step down or a lateral move at best. Again, they'll keep fighting the other Big East teams for the talent in their backyard and in New York and Massachusetts, and I doubt anybody in Indiana is suddenly going to spring at the opportunity to wear the Scarlett and Black.
Now, I don't know much about Rutgers academics or research, but a couple of people who I work with who attended and/or worked there said it was your run-of-the-mill state school - a couple of nice programs surrounded by mediocrity, and while you certainly will receive a nice education there, there is no "wow" to it that would help the Big 10. Most of the best students in the New Jersey area don't go to Rutgers - they come from families that can afford to send them to the Ivies/East Coast, Duke and other high-ranked mid-atlantics, Michigan, Chicago schools, California, etc. Sure, a couple will go to Rutgers for the cheaper tuition, proximity, etc., but their simply is too much competition for the best and brightest, both in terms of students and faculty. See the earlier article in the DetNews about State cutting its spending, which I'm sure Rutgers is doing as well. So they are at a competitive disadvantage academically as well.
So the notion that Rutgers will "bring" the Big Ten anything other than a 12th team and a couple of long flights seems a little too hopeful. Everyone knows that the best fit is Notre Dame and that such a move will never happen. So at this point, I'd rather the Big 11 stay the way it is and reinvest the TV money into the member schools, not try to rope in a tomato can or a poor fit for a couple million more dollars.
A lot has already been said about Rutgers, but let me add my perspective since I live here and spent part of my childhood here.
New Jersey has a huge inferiority complex because we're constantly accused of being in someone else's backyard. That's not actually true, as there's a lot of home grown industries (good industries), here in NJ. I live near major pharmaceutical and telecommunications firms, for example. But New York City really looks down on us. That's why the Devils are so popular even though NJ doesn't border (or is even close to), Canada.
So even though I have mentioned on more than one occasion that Rutgers is a middling, declining school, there's still some pride in the football program at least. I see far more Rutgers football jerseys here than 10 years ago. There's at least a respect for the football program and I think that will intensify if Rutgers does join the B10 and a rivalry is created with PSU.
As stated by New Yorkers, though, outside NJ Rutgers is irrelevant. So the question is whether the NJ media market (which is split between New York City and Philadelphia, with some places getting both cities) is enough to admit a middling, declining academic school with a questionable football program and a dead basketball program.
After careful thought, I've actually come to the conclusion that if the B10 really wants to expand and won't hold out for Notre Dame anymore, Rutgers is the best choice. Why? Because the whole discussion is driven by money. There's no reason why the B10 should expand other than to play a conference championship game (money).
A natural rivalry with PSU will shore up the Philadelphia market IMHO. That's not insignificant, as Philadelphia is actually the 4th largest market in the country (behind only NYC, LA and Chicago). That alone would make the media market superior to the divided St. Louis and Pittsburgh markets, which are much smaller. Illinois is the only natural rival with Missouri and they already play each other in football and basketball. Pitt is in Pennsylvania, which already has PSU. You add the NJ side of the NYC market, assuming zero interest from New Yorkers and CT residents, and from a dollars standpoint Rutgers is a clear win assuming the marginal interest I see now holds place.
If what matters is dollars, Rutgers is a gamble, but there's more money potential. The potential, as I have described, is not with New York City, but rather with Philadelphia and New Jersey. Obviously, expansion should not be driven solely by the mere possibility of short term gain. And I stress the word short term because fans in New Jersey (whether NYC or Philadelphia) are notoriously impatient and any decline will lead to drops in interest (it's the exact opposite of Indiana fans still showing up to watch their last place basketball team). Most posters here not from the East are probably leery at adding Rutgers because of the cultural tension it would create. That's understandable. An Iowa-Rutgers game would truly be a culture shock. And I think all of us are worried about Rutgers not bringing much in terms of both academic and athletic potential.
In the end, I think the best situation would be for there to be no expansion at all.