Pernetti Confident in Rutgers' Future

In the wake of Syracuse and Pittsburgh officially leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference, brings you comments from Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti on how it affects the program.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh are out. West Virginia may be next. Is Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti concerned about what will happen to his school when the dust settles?

Maybe a little.

More importantly, Pernetti said today he thinks Rutgers will be just fine as dominoes continue to fall across the country regarding conference realignment.

"I feel good about it. I really do," Pernetti said. "... If you're asking me if I'm concerned about being shut out, I'm not. I think we have great assets and will continue to be a player in this thing throughout until it comes to some form of conclusion. This stuff has been going on forever, so I'm not sure it ever will reach a final conclusion."

Still relatively new to his position as an athletic director, Pernetti said he is excited about the road ahead for the program.

"Quite frankly, this is the kind of stuff you sign up for," Pernetti said. "I think that given the relationships that we have, and given a lot of the conversations that we continue to have in certainly all the assets that I continue to talk about, we feel excited about the fact that if things continue to change, that we're going to end up in a very good position given those assets."

Here are the facts from Pernetti.

  • Rutgers may have been caught off guard by the Syracuse and Pittsburgh news, but it certainly was not as surprising to the program as it was to John Marinatto and the Big East office.

    "The bottom line is the landscape continues to change and continues to shift and that TV and revenue are at the core of this stuff," Pernetti said. "I was not at all surprised to see what's occurring and what will continue to occur."

  • Rutgers will continue to take a "wait-and-see" approach to realignment, but are in talks with multiple parties to find the best resolution.

    "The bottom line, I think, as it relates to Rutgers, this is not the kind of thing that causes us to get to work," Pernetti said. "We continue to have, since I started on the job, to be very active. ... I think given our assets and our location, the New York TV market, ... our strong academic standing and most of all, I think, given all the nonsense that's going on out there, running a clean program high on integrity. We have great assets and will continue to be a player nationally during this time as the landscape continues to shift."

  • This whole thing could be over with sooner, rather than later.

    "This time around, things seem to be moving a little bit more quickly than they did a little over a year ago," Pernetti said. "If that's a sign of things to come or not, it's very difficult to say. I do think that, as more pieces continue to be in motion, obviously it starts to trickle its way down and affect more people in the process. I would imagine that the next 30 days are going to be a very telling period of time for our entire industry."

  • At this point, there is not much Rutgers can do about scheduling for the upcoming years. For football, it will have to wait until the dust settles.

    "I think that's a wait-and-see kind of thing now as it relates to football," Pernetti said. "With football, we always plan for every scenario. I won't lie to you and tell you we haven't considered scenarios in which there would be some transition throughout the league. Certain things still need to be determined on that front, but I'm pretty sure that we'll be OK on that front."

  • There are four main scenarios of how realignment can play out for Rutgers. The three most likely are all positive for the Scarlet Knights.

  • 1.) Rutgers joins the ACC. - Whether schools leave the ACC and it needs to jump back to 14 or the conference decides to grow to 16, Rutgers is a prime candidate to join along with Connecticut.

    "I'm trying to focus on what's most important right now, which I've always focused on, which is trying to make sure that we continue to be well-positioned as the landscape continues to shift," Pernetti said. "...The bottom line is that, so long as you're in one place, you always want to do what you can do to make it the best you can and at the same time, given the landscape and how it's changing, you have to be protective of the interests of your institution."

  • 2.) Rutgers joins the Big Ten. Should the Big Ten decide to expand, Pernetti sees Rutgers as a viable option because of its assets.

    "We're continuing to be engaged in talks with several parties," Pernetti said. "I think that's been the case for a long time more than the last 36 hours. It's always been our practice to keep those kinds of talks private. I've always kept that stuff in the family and I think it's important that we continue to do that."

  • 3.) The Big East changes for the better. Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are close to making public decisions. When that happens, the Big East will need to be aggressive in pursuing what is left and breaking off into divisions. Pernetti said the Big East can survive realignment, but called for stronger synergy between the institutions and conference leadership.

    "I think it can [survive]," Pernetti said. "The thing about conference expansion and the thing about conferences that have well-positioned themselves for the future is it's all about unanimity. ... Unanimity is the greatest asset any league can have right now and I think that's the one thing that continues to challenge the Big East."

  • 4.) The Big East changes for the worse. West Virginia may be off to the SEC. The Big East may not be able to absorb Big 12 schools and Rutgers may get shut out. In Pernetti's eyes, this is the least likely outcome.

    "We have been and will continue to engage in these conversations with several parties and evaluate," Pernetti said. "In the end, the answer is going to be whatever's best for us is what we're going to do."

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