Welp. It's finally official.
According to Jason Baum, Rutgers' Senior Associate Athletic Director of Communications, the Scarlet Knights have officially agreed to a settlement with the American Athletic Conference, their now-former league, that will pave the way for them to join the Big Ten on July 1, 2014:
According to Brett McMurphy, Rutgers was able to get out for an exit fee of $11.5 million—roughly $3.5 million less than the ACC was seeking but $500,000 more than Louisville paid to exit and join the ACC:
Rutgers will pay $11.5M exit fee to AAC. League sought $15M. UL got out for $11M— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) February 12, 2014
This is news only insofar as completeness. It's not like it comes as a shock, though it's nice to finally have it done.
Rutgers, along with Maryland of the ACC, are both slated to join the Big Ten at some point this summer, giving the misleadingly titled conference a total of 14 teams.
The AAC is just one year old, having formed in the wake of the Big East during all the conference-realignment chaos of the past few seasons. Though its stint with the conference was short (and decidedly unmemorable), Rutgers will always be remembered as a charter member of the league.
"It’s been a privilege to be a member of the American Athletic Conference," said Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann, according to Keith Sargeant of the New Jersey Press Media Group. "I deeply appreciate the leadership and insight Commissioner Aresco provided us as we worked together for an outcome (to this exit)."
Even though the exit fee was less than the AAC was asking for, $11.5 million is still a considerable price. According to Tom Luicci of NJ.com, the Scarlet Knights have also coughed up $1.5 million to hire four new assistants and to move Joe Rossi from his previous role coaching special teams to his new role of defensive coordinator.
Life in the Big Ten, it seems, is expensive—but of course that doesn't come as a shock. It's a bigger market and a higher standard of competition than Rutgers, having played most recently in the AAC and Big East, is used to.
However, with bigger costs comes bigger earning potential, and Rutgers hopes to cash in on some of those fat Big Ten paychecks in the near future:
W/move to B1G, Rutgers projects increase in revenue about $200M over next 12 years— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) February 12, 2014
That makes this short-term price well worth it.