PISCATAWAY, NJ—Poised to officially enter the Big Ten Athletic Conference on Tuesday, Rutgers University will be hosting a celebration on the field at the school's football stadium on Busch campus.
Known as the "R Big 10" party, the free event kicks off at 7 pm, and concludes with a fireworks display happening around 9 pm.
The event will feature brief speeches by Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, as well as Rutgers President Bob Barchi and Athletic Director Julie Hermann.
"Fans are welcome to bring blankets to sit on… Lawn and beach chairs are not permitted inside the stadium," reads a statement from the Rutgers athletics department.
"Food and refreshments will be available for purchase on the field."
In addition, attendees will be able to enjoy an open air concert, a performance by the Rutgers Marching Band, and videotaped presentations.
Rutgers University and the University of Maryland-College Park, are set to enter the Big Ten on July 1, making them the two newest members, joining twelve other presitigious universities.
The other member schools (and the year they joined) are:
- University of Michegan-Ann Arbor (1896)
- University of Minnestoa (1896)
- Northwestern University (1896)
- Purdue University (1896)
- University of Wisconsin-Madison (1896)
- University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (1896)
- University of Iowa (1899)
- Indiana University (1899)
- Ohio State University (1912)
- Michigan State University (1950)
- Pennsylvania State University-University Park (1990)
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2011)
In additon, John Hopkins University will be entering the Big 10 Conference on July 1, but only as a participant in men's lacrosse.
For more than a decade, Rutgers was a member of the Big East athletic conference, now known as the American Athletic Conference (AAC). The termination of its membership will be effective on July 1st.
"We wish Rutgers University well and appreciate the contributions the university has made to our conference over the years," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement.
During an October 2013 Board of Governors meeting in Camden, board member Greg Brown predicted that the University would bring in $200 million over the next twelve years thanks to their new conference affiliation.
President Barchi told the Asbury Park Press that he anticipates Rutgers bringing in at least $9 million by the end of its first year.
But Rutgers path to joining the Big Ten, a move that was first publicly announced in late 2012, has already proved to be costly.
Rutgters settled a lawsuit with the former Big East Conference, negotiating its "exit fee" down to $11.5 million. Usually, the price for a university to leave the conference ranges from $10 to $15 million.
So far, the University has paid $5 million towards the fee, with the remaining $6.5 million to be paid over the next four years. Rutgers officials anticipate the payments to be completed sometime in 2017.
One of the more uncertain endeavors related to Rutgers athletics is a makeover for athletic facilities. In the "R Big Tour" in Cherry Hill this month, Athletic Director Julie Hermann told reporters that she wanted football games to feel morel like Disney World.
The "Disney World" idea comes as part of a proposed $60 million athletic village on campus, which would include a basketball practice gym and a new football headquarters.
Rutgers has also been pursuing plans for several years to replace the current basket arena, the Rutgers Athletics Center. Hermann's predecessor, Tim Pernetti, set an initial price tag on a new facility at $30 million.
Rutgers' football team is set to play Washington State and Howard University, before facing Penn State on September 13 in the team's first game against a Big 10 opponent as a member of the same conference.