In a secret vote this morning, the presidents of the Big Ten Conference unanimously voted to rescind its invitation of Rutgers to the Big Ten and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.
Since the Big Ten invited Rutgers to join the conference in November 2012, the school had embarrassed itself in numerous ways. Coaching abuse scandals, mediocrity across all sports and an unprecedented $20 million budget deficit in the athletic department all served to exasperate conference leaders. According to one university president, the 2013-2014 Scarlet Knights men's basketball team's 12-21 record was the last straw.
In fact, Rutgers' invitation to the Big Ten was a mistake from the beginning. "When we invited Rutgers, we expected to capture the lucrative New York/New Jersey market," said Elizabeth Conlisk, VP of Communications for the Big Ten Network. "What we failed to realize is that we made an order of magnitude error in our calculations. We thought there were 30 million diehard Rutgers fans in the nation, while our revised figures show there are 3,000 at most."
When asked how BTN could overestimate Rutgers fans ten thousand times over, Conlisk shrugged and mouthed "Our bad."
Rutgers' exclusion leaves the Big Ten with thirteen teams, as newcomer Maryland was unaffected by the vote. In a press release, University of Maryland, College Park president Wallace Loh admitted that the move was, "a long time coming."
As for Rutgers' replacement, a well-placed source at Big Ten headquarters confirmed that Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and Texas have been in secret negotiations to join the conference since 2011. Jim Delany, who asked for anonymity in this article, told Eleven Warriors that each school has scheduled emergency meetings of the board of trustees for this afternoon, presumably to discuss Big Ten and CIC membership. Should these three schools vote to move conferences, the Big Ten would become a financial and scholastics juggernaut the likes of which college athletics has never seen.
Though the sudden decision requires a total reworking of the 2014 football schedule, Delany confided off-the-record that the conference would be the better off in the long-term. "I'm thrilled to welcome Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and Texas to our conference, especially after the whole Rutgers debacle. What the hell was I thinking?"