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Whenever Rutgers enters the Big Ten, it will be the culmination of one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college sports.

In 2002, the Scarlet Knights football team went 1-11 under second-year coach Greg Schiano.

The team, however, steadily improved as the university made the huge financial commitment necessary to support major college football.

Facilities were upgraded, the on-campus stadium was expanded and as Schiano started to win, his salary began to rise into the millions. Not everyone on campus embraced the idea of turning Rutgers into a big-time football school, and it did come with a price.

The expanded and renovated stadium cost of $102 million. The school had hoped to raise the money through private donors, but fell short. Rutgers scaled back plans for the expansion and issued bonds and borrowed money to complete the project.

In 2006, the school had to cut six varsity sports. As the football team has become a consistent winner — Rutgers has gone to a bowl six of the last seven years — the athletic department has received tens of millions in subsidies from the university.

Schiano left for the NFL last year, and Rutgers hired longtime assistant Kyle Flood, who has the Scarlet Knights poised to take make another big step. No. 21 Rutgers (9-1) is in position to win its first Big East championship and go to a BCS game for the first time.

In the Big Ten, the revenue Rutgers receives from the league’s television and media deals should triple in the short term and could be even more than that in years to come.

The Big Ten reportedly paid its members about $24 million last year, though new members generally do not get a full share of revenue immediately. The Big East’s payout to football members last year was $6 million.

In exchange, the Big Ten gets a member in the largest media market in the country, with Rutgers and Maryland as north and south bookends.

“You know, it was a factor,” Delany said, referring to the New York television market. “I think it’s been a factor that’s been a little overplayed to be honest with you.”

Losing access to that market is yet another blow to the Big East. The conference is again facing an uncertain future and at the worst possible time. The Big East is trying to negotiate a crucial new television contract.

With the Big East on shaky ground, there has been speculation that Boise State and San Diego State could renege on their commitments to the Big East and stay in the Mountain West.

San Diego State AD Jim Sterk told the North County Times that the Aztecs are not looking to bail.

“It’s not great to lose UConn or Rutgers, but if that happens, it gives us an opportunity to have less travel in the Western division,” Sterk told the newspaper. “We pick up someone further west, and we’re in better shape than yesterday’s Big East.”