RALPH D. RUSSO,AP College Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Rutgers’ recent troubles will not interfere with its entry into the Big Ten, conference Commissioner Jim Delany says.
“You should rest assured that Rutgers will be a member of the Big Ten, on time, in place,” Delany said Monday after a news conference at Yankee Stadium to announce a deal with the Pinstripe Bowl.
Rutgers is scheduled to join the Big Ten in 2014, along with Maryland.
The school has been navigating its way through a bevy of problems in recent months. Men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for cursing and throwing balls at players, and athletic director Tim Pernetti was forced out for not getting rid of Rice sooner.
Incoming athletic director Julie Hermann has faced allegations of being verbally abusive while leading Tennessee’s volleyball team in the 1990s.
Delany called Rutgers’ problems a local issue that will not involve the league.
“Issues of personnel, decisions made by selections committees in the context of executive committees, those are not conference matters,” he said. “Those are not conference matters those are local matters. Who they hire, who they retain, who they extend are not matters for the Big Ten conference whether it be at Michigan or at Rutgers or at Nebraska or at Illinois or at any of our schools.”
Delany is scheduled to spend two days later this week at Rutgers. On Thursday, he is scheduled to meet with coaches and on Friday he’ll play in the school’s golf outing.
Rutgers spokesman Jason Baum said Hermann, who doesn’t official start in her new position until June 17, is scheduled to be on campus this week, but her schedule has not been finalized.
“I believe that things will calm down,” Delany said. “They’re not calm now, that’s pretty obvious. My job is not … to solve their problems. My job is to build and promote and help if I can, if asked.”
Rutgers has been a member of the Big East, and will spend this season in the reincarnated version of that league, the American Athletic Conference. The Big Ten’s addition of Rutgers was part of the conference’s long-term strategy to have a greater presence on the East Coast.
“What we focused on and continue to focus on is the quality of the institution,” Delany said. “It’s membership in AAU. It’s resilience. It’s tradition. We believe then, and now, that (Rutgers) will be a great member of the Big Ten conference, notwithstanding the fact that they had a number of high-profile situations that have received a lot of coverage.
“I won’t be coming in to provide advice. I’ll be coming in to provide support.”
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