Rutgers moves the Big Ten on July 1, 2015, and it means markedly more exposure for the athletic programs. Football is at the forefront of the move, every sport should be reaping the rewards.
However, after years of neglect and lack of funds, Rutgers needs massive facility upgrades to compete with other Big Ten programs, and ScarletReport.com takes a look at the top five needs and the daunting task facing athletic Julie Hermann and her staff when it comes to fundraising.
5. College Avenue Gym: The historic building hosts the wrestling team and the women's volleyball team, and both are big-time sports in the Big Ten. The conference is the best when it comes to wrestling, and Penn State women's volleyball is a national powerhouse, yet "The Barn" is woefully inadequate. Women's volleyball recently moved into an upgraded locker room, but the building is ancient. So much so the lighting and wiring are so poor the Big Ten Network will not be able to broadcast matches from the facility, and most (if not all) of the Big Ten wrestling matches will be moved to the Rutgers Athletic Center. Wrestling also needs a practice facility.
4. Baseball/Softball complex: Let's start out with the fact there is no press box at the facilities, and there is extremely limited seating. Also, the infrastructure does not exist to broadcast games on the Big Ten Network from the complex, so it negates the station from coming to Rutgers to showcase those sports. There was talk of the baseball team playing home games at the home of the Somerset Patriots so television could be involved, but that was met with resistance. Factor in softball and baseball use the corners of the RAC for batting practice and to throw, and it speaks volumes as to where the facilities stand.
3. Field Hockey: The large piece of turf across the road from the RAC and a stone's throw from the baseball complex is home to field hockey team, and it is nothing more than a high school stadium that is hasn't been kept up. Again, no television possibilities exist, and the complex is less than aesthetically pleasing.
2. Yurcack Field: It needs a new press box before the Big Ten Network can comfortable broadcast a game, but it is doable without such a renovation. However, the field gets beaten up during the fall because of men's and women's soccer, and then men's and women's lacrosse in the spring. That is, when the lacrosse teams can get on it. The icy winter and snow made the field unusable, and sent the teams into High Point Solutions Stadium for games. Also, when it comes to practice in the spring, they are at the mercy of football since they practice on the same artificial turf field. Oh, and even when the teams can get into Yurcack Field, the turf is often beaten up and lumpy.
1. Rutgers Athletic Center: Where to begin? No air conditioning so the basketball programs are hesitant to hold camps there since they do not want prospects experiencing the situation. The athletic director gave up her office so men's basketball coach Eddie Jordan could have an office that wasn't tiny and shoe-horned into one of the edges of the trapezoid, a practice court that is open to the public since there is no way to close the RAC from everyone. The men's basketball locker room is cramped (the women's basketball one is no better) and when another team is weight training above and drops the weights, the sound of it landed echoes throughout the locker room and it feels like the ceiling may collapse. There is not enough office space to adequately house administration, which means media relations and the ticket office now operate out of the High Point Solutions Stadium. And that means whenever there is an event, media relations and the ticket office pack up their stuff and store it.