Rutgers' move from the American Athletic Conference to the Big Ten will be official on July 1. It is a jump into the Power 5 conference, and a chance for the school to reboot its image after two years of scandal and criticism -- including, but not limited to, the handling of Eric LeGrand's graduation speech and the tenuous relationship between the New Jersey Star-Ledger and some of the school's leadership.
Athletic director Julie Hermann is out on tour, like so many college football coaches, speaking with Scarlet Knights supporters and generating buzz for this new chapter in the Big Ten. One of the athletic department's stated goals is to upgrade the gameday experience for fans at High Point Solutions Stadium.
"We know we have a ton of work to do," Hermann told fans at a stop on the 'R Big Tour' on Thursday night. "We have to lay this brick-by-brick. It's going to take the entire village. In about a month, we're going to start sending out a ton of information so you will know, first and foremost, what I've been up to for a year and what we're getting ready."
Hermann said one her top priorities is improving the fan experience at games.
"What I can promise you, one of the things we're working on most, is when you come see us at ball games, starting with High Point Solutions Stadium, you have a world-class, Disney World experience," Hermann said. "That's important to us."
The first challenge on the football side will be navigating a brutal schedule. The Scarlet Knights will play Wisconsin and Nebraska from the Big Ten West, along with the gauntlet of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State in the Big Ten East. Kyle Flood has led Rutgers to back-to-back bowl appearances, but a third straight will be a challenge in what is expected to be a transition year.
We just hope the "Disney World experience" includes a photo of each student attending the game, available for purchase in a commemorative post card for the fridge at home.