In 2002, the Scarlet Knights football team went 1-11 under second-year coach Greg Schiano.
The team steadily improved under Schiano 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 rose 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 immediately. The Big East's payout to football members last year was $6 million.
In exchange, the Big Ten gets in Rutgers a member in the largest media market in the country, which should make the Big Ten Network even more valuable.
"You know, it was a factor," Delany said of the New York TV 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.
Both schools on Tuesday publicly stated they had no plans to bail on the Big East.
"I can say the Big East took a hit," San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk said during a weekly press conference streamed on the Internet. "It may take some others, but I can tell you the league will continue to be strong. ... I'm excited about the future and wanted to make sure that was clear and on the direction San Diego State University was taking."
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdrussoap