It’s official. The Rutgers athletic program will be vacating the Big East and joining the Big Ten Conference. The announcement comes just days after Maryland was also accepted, bringing the total number of teams to 14. The incoming programs will play next year in their respective divisions before starting anew, when they will join Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana.
The addition of Rutgers expands the reach of the Big Ten considerably, stretching it through several key northeast markets. The Big East is expected to search for prospective replacements to fill Rutgers’ void in the near future. Forecasting into the future absence, the Big East would be left with just four teams, as Syracuse and Pittsburgh are already on their way out next season. This concludes a year in which Notre Dame, TCU and West Virginia also found greener pastures. This, in all likelyhood, will mean the end of the Big East.
The spurned conference does charge departing programs a $10 million penalty fee for leaving, which is a substantial hit for a program that reported $26 million in losses last year. But the Scarlet Knights will reap huge financial benefits for their troubles, with each team in the Big Ten receiving around $24.6 million from the league this past year. With a new TV deal on the horizon, that number could balloon in the coming seasons.