And it was with Tim Pernetti at the helm of the athletic department Rutgers announced it was leaving for the Big Ten, the most grandiose and richest athletic conference in the nation and also an exceptional collection of academic schools.
The date Rutgers will make the move is yet to be decided, but the target remains July 1, 2014. That will allow the Scarlet Knights to begin competing in the league for the 2014 football season, and the enormous increase in television revenue should be an immediate boon to the athletic programs.
So, who deserves the credit for the most monumental moment in Rutgers' athletic history? There are plenty of people who played a role in it, but there were three people who stood high and above anyone else.
ScarletReport.com identifies those three people, and gives a breakdown of their impact on Rutgers moving to the Big Ten.
The former Rutgers athletic director is the one who turned around Rutgers' fortunes on the gridiron when he hired Schiano. Good fortune plays a role in many transformations, and such is the case here since Schiano was not the first choice for the job.
However, it was Mulcahy who settled on Schiano, who made sure the university was on board with upgrades to its infrastructure, including on the academic side and with the football facilities.
Former coach Doug Graber deserve credit for helping push through the original renovation of the old Rutgers Stadium, but it was Mulcahy who was in charge when the stadium's south end zone was closed off and capacity was pushed beyond 52,000. Without the addition of the 10,000 seats, the Big Ten could have asked for a bigger stadium before accepting Rutgers.
Responsibility of Big Ten Move: 15 percent
Even after being going for nearly a year, Schiano's name is the most synonymous with Rutgers football. Because of Schiano, there are fans annoyed Rutgers isn't going to a BCS bowl, and because of him, other are annoyed Rutgers only won a share of the Big East title rather than winning it outright.
Mulcahy and the university game Schiano the tools to be successful, but it was still Schiano's ability to sell recruits on a vision and ability to win games that made them an intriguing pick for the Big Ten and the Big Ten Network, where the money for the television rights is tied directly to football.
For a quick history lesson, Rutgers was 11-44 in the five seasons prior to Schiano's arrival. Before the breakthrough season in 2005 in which the Scarlet Knights went to the Insight Bowl, Rutgers had three winning seasons in the previous 20. Rutgers has had seven winning seasons in the last eight.
Schiano also pushed for upgraded facilities, and the winning helped increase exposure for the program and television ratings. And while Mulcahy was the athletic director for the stadium expansion, Schiano was also a driving force behind the increase in seating.
Responsibility of Big Ten Move: 30 percent
It doesn't matter what Pernetti does the rest of his career at Rutgers, his legacy is set. Just like former athletic director Fred Gruninger will forever be the guy who said no to the Big East in the late 1970s, Pernetti is the guy who got Rutgers into the best, and richest, conference in nation.
The folks on the academia side love it because it will allow Rutgers to partner with some of the best land-grant, research-based universities in the nation to collaborate on projects.
The athletics side means more exposure, more dollars, more resources and the potential for Rutgers athletics to make a major step forward.
And Pernetti was the man who got it done.
He had a long-standing relationship with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, and he worked that relationship for years. He never panicked, never publicly groveled, and even with the transition in university presidents, Pernetti was able to see the move through.
The day the Big Ten announced it was adding Rutgers was the most significant day in the school's athletics history, and that won't change unless the men's basketball program or the football program wins a national championship. And it may not even change then.
Pernetti's job was to make sure Rutgers found a safe landing spot in the conference re-alignment wheel, and gave the Scarlet Knights a golden parachute.
Mulchay has a plague outside of High Point Solutions Stadium. Pernetti will one day have a statue on campus.
Responsibility of Big Ten Move: 55 percent