Joining the Big Ten Conference

November 20, 2012

Members of the Rutgers Community:

On behalf of the Rutgers Board of Governors and athletic director Tim Pernetti, I am delighted to report that today the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors voted unanimously to accept Rutgers University as a member of the Big Ten. All of the Scarlet Knights intercollegiate athletic programs on our New Brunswick Campus will compete in the Big Ten, beginning at a date to be determined. 

Simultaneous with our entry into the conference, Rutgers also looks forward to joining the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of world-class research universities dedicated to advancing their academic missions. The CIC includes all Big Ten institutions, as well as the University of Chicago. Membership in this consortium will create invaluable opportunities for new and expanded collaboration in cutting-edge research and academic programs.

The Big Ten is exactly the right conference for Rutgers. Most of the Big Ten’s member institutions, including such schools as Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State, Iowa, and fellow newcomer Maryland, are research-intensive flagship state universities and fellow members of the Association of American Universities. As Rutgers integrates most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and becomes a truly comprehensive research university, being in the company of these academic peers will not only provide exciting competition for our student athletes but also strengthen our national profile among high-achieving students and top faculty.

Membership in the Big Ten will also bring Rutgers substantially higher revenues each year. This is critical to our goal of achieving a financially self-sustaining athletic program and providing greater support for all our teams and student athletes. 

As Rutgers prepares for this new era, we remain deeply committed to our strong focus on academic as well as athletic success—a commitment reflected in our student athletes’ high graduation rates and Academic Progress Rate scores—and to running a program of unquestioned integrity.

I applaud Tim Pernetti on this extremely positive development for Rutgers. He has been working for a long time to ensure that, in this period of athletic conference realignment, Rutgers would emerge in a stronger, more advantageous position. Joining the Big Ten is the most appropriate match for Rutgers with the very best long-term potential for our athletic program. It is where we belong. 

For more information, view the news release

Robert L. Barchi
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey