The long-awaited facilities announcement from Rutgers president Robert Barchi is over. A plan is in place. Although vague – probably a good move – the announcement represents progress in the battle for a modern basketball experience.
Rutgers unveiled its plan during a Thursday Board of Governors meeting with a proposed multi-use basketball practice facility as the highlight. Rutgers also approved plans for upgrades to High Point Solutions Stadium and a football-only training facility at the Hale Center.
“We’re extremely pleased to have the athletics chapter put into the university master plan,” said athletic director Julie Hermann, “This gives us an opportunity to take that great framework and all of the work by campus and ourselves to give us a vision for a great runway and pathway to go out to our donor base and start working.”
The entire 18-page proposed plan, including plans for all Rutgers facilities, can be found here.
On Livingston campus, the plan proposes a multi-use basketball practice facility attached to the RAC, which would be the first newly-built athletics structure in 25 years.
“Our goal was to build as much as we could and impact as many sports as possible as fast as we could,” Hermann said. “Given the honor of the Big Ten, it didn’t make any sense to do just basketball or just football or just anything.”
Whether or not plans become reality, however, remains to be seen. Rutgers scrapped its last basketball plan after Tim Pernetti’s resignation, and offered little inspiration as coaches Eddie Jordan and C. Vivian Stringer struggle with the RAC’s limitations.
Hermann spoke confidently when asked why this attempt for RAC upgrades would be different.
“I think alignment is key,” Hermann said. “Everybody is behind it. It comes from not just athletics but also the leadership from our university is key. Second thing is, we’re Big Ten. It’s time for us to step up on every level.”
The announcement fueled as many questions as it answered when it comes to the future of Rutgers athletic facilities in the Big Ten.
What makes this plan work when so many others did not?
What does it cost?
How long will it take?
The money comes from private donors, Barchi said, but the details will not be available any time soon.
“If you look at the plan that we have out there and what we’re doing, we’re not talking about creating Taj Mahals,” Barchis said. “We’re not talking about even creating necessarily a bunch of free-standing entities. We’re talking about bringing current facilities that have not had any investment in years up to what’s a reasonable state.”