Rutgers won't officially become a Big Ten member for another year and a half, but Scarlet Knights athletic director Tim Pernetti told ESPN's Brian Bennett that his school is ready to go.
"I think in a lot of ways, we're priced to move and ready to go," said Pernetti. "From a football standpoint, we've done an excellent job of creating some real state-of-the-art facilities. We expanded our stadium three years ago to 53,000, and we're in very good shape there. Obviously, there are always things you want to get done."
A key reason for Rutgers' addition to the Big Ten was, as commissioner Jim Delany put it, giving the conference a "bridge to the East Coast." The league has hordes of alums on the East Coast, and Pernetti says Rutgers is already seeing a benefit in its bottom line.
"We've gotten thousands of deposits from people who have never had season tickets here before, and I'd venture to guess that some of those people are probably Big Ten fans from other schools," Pernetti theorized.
While Rutgers will bring the East Coast to the Big Ten, Pernetti hopes the new affiliation will help persuade some New Jersey talent that would otherwise land in the Big Ten to remain close to home.
"You look at the rosters for football, and there are a lot of student-athletes at different Big Ten schools that are from New Jersey," he said. "I think the ability to compete in the Big Ten and compete at the highest level and stay in New Jersey is going to be a very attractive opportunity for a lot of recruits."
Part of the reason Pernetti is eager to join the Big Ten is that the Big Ten, unlike other newly-expanded conferences, has been inclusive from the start.
"Within a week after the announcement, we started to receive schedules of future meeting, invites to future meetings, invites to conference calls. Our coaches have been on conference calls, our administrators have been on calls. I've been included on the last two AD calls," he stated. "And it's not to just sit in the background and listen. (Delany) does a terrific job of framing the issue and literally goes down the line and gets input from every single school."
Fans and recruits, however, aren't privy to the etiquette of league-wide conference calls. They just want to see Michigan and Ohio State come to Piscataway. Pernetti shares their enthusiasm.
"I'm so excited about those games, mainly because it's going to give us an opportunity to deliver a lot of great settings and a lot of great match-ups for all of our fans," Pernetti concluded. "We had Penn State scheduled already for 2014, and from the day we announced that the buzz has just been through the roof about Penn State coming to campus. Now the prospect of that happening every other year, and the prospect of a lot of the Big Ten institutions coming every other year, it's got our fans in just a frenzy."