When the Big Ten set out to bring the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to the conference, their intention was to bring and attract the New Jersey/New York market along with that process. But the question is, what will that do for the Scarlet Knights in basketball and are we sure that will lure in the market the Big Ten is trying to obtain? So far it doesn't look good for the Scarlet Knights in terms of attraction as they finished last in the Big Ten with a 10-22 record.
The Scarlet Knights have a following, make no mistake about it as they do have a loyal and sizable fanbase. But when you are looking at the New Jersey/New York market, do we really believe that a good chunk of people in the state of New York care about the Scarlet Knights? That isn't meant to disparage the Scarlet Knights in any way because when it comes to all of the 50 states in the U.S., everyone has pride in their home state to some degree.
I don't think people in New York care about the Scarlet Knights just about as much as people in New Jersey do. The St. John's Red Storm and the Syracuse Orange pretty much control the state of New York and the Scarlet Knights haven't done anything to change that in the men's college basketball landscape.
One advantage that the Scarlet Knights have is the TV deal with the Big Ten Network, so pretty much the only thing they would be doing is trying to gain more exposure. The Big Ten Network is big for the school going forward, thanks to a sizable chunk of television revenue, they just need to find a way to obtain better results on the court.
The Scarlet Knights haven't made the NCAA tournament in college basketball in over 20 years. The last time the Scarlet Knights made it to the NCAA tournament was in the 1990-1991 season. And the last time the Scarlet Knights won an NCAA tournament game was in the 1982-1983 season.
So in terms of the men's basketball program, when the Big Ten decided to bring the Scarlet Knights into the fold, the plan wasn't going to bring a massive amount of followers with them. The goal instead was to create new followers for programs in the Big Ten with much more exposure along the east coast, as well as increase the overall revenue from the conference's television network. If anything, it would help other big time schools in the Big Ten secure the New Jersey/New York area more than it would help the Scarlet Knights themselves initially.
There is certainly potential for the Scarlet Knights to do well and I hope for their fans they do. But right now at this very moment what the Big Ten conference was trying to sell when they entered a time of conference realignment, nobody is really buying it. The Big Ten could eventually be right, maybe, but as of now the addition of the Scarlet Knights still looks like a move solely to increase reach and revenue instead of trying to improve the competitive atmosphere in the conference.