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Benefits & Challenges of Big Ten expansion for Rutgers Athletics



Photo credit Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

With the Big Ten expanding to 18 schools with the additions of USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington for the 2024-2025 school year, change will impact the entire conference. There are many questions that the league will have to resolve.

From a Rutgers perspective, what are the pros and cons of Big Ten expansion?

An obvious challenge is that the competition will be only stronger with the four West Coast schools. In regard to the Directors Cup last year, USC finished No. 10, UCLA at No. 14, Washington at No. 21 and Oregon was No. 38. From a football perspective, all four programs are likely to be in the top half of the conference in terms of a general outlook over the short to midterm future. All of these schools have competed for national titles in various sports in recent years. That will only make it harder for Rutgers to move up the Big Ten standings in multiple sports.

Scheduling and travel in multiple ways will now be more challenging for every school in the conference. Costs, logistics, the wellbeing of the student-athletes, it all has to be considered and worked through.

I do think that this has the potential to open doors from a recruiting perspective. We’ve seen Rutgers recruit in different regions within the Big Ten footprint in multiple sports. Expansion out west means the recruiting opportunities could grow with it. It’s also an opportunity to reach more alumni and donors with events during road trips. It’s a way to connect and unite that hasn’t been available with the West Coast previously.

The bottom line though is that as the Big Ten grows, Rutgers will benefit in the long term. I believe their standing in the conference provides long term stability financially as the media rights deal will only increase. Rutgers has spent years trying to bridge the gap from when they entered the league ill equipped to compete on multiple fronts. The school has invested in several ways over the last decade and the athletic department has only scratched the surface in the progress made so far. Traditionalists can complain all they want, Rutgers is only getting started.

For my full discussion of this Big Ten expansion related to Rutgers, listen and watch below.



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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. pj43

    August 9, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    “The bottom line though is that as the Big Ten grows, Rutgers will benefit in the long term.” Aaron
    To that comment I would add that not only will Rutgers benefit in the long term, that benefit will be exponential in terms of academic standing, athletic recruiting in its “footprint” and improvement in its overall athletic program competitiveness both in the Big Ten & nationally.

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