Rutgers officially announced on Friday the “Battle in the Bronx” was actually going to be played in Piscataway, New Jersey.
At the time, the official story was the wrestling-football doubleheader against Maryland was on the move due to the New York Yankees’ postseason run approaching the World Series. However, with the Yankees now out of the playoffs, there appear to be other motives behind the change of scenery.
Had the Yanks prevailed, it would have taken almost a week to prepare Yankee Stadium for football and there was no guarantee the baseball staff could help Rutgers athletic staff, NJ.com reported. New York would have played three World Series games in the Bronx from Oct 26-28, with the last only coming if they had made it to Game 5.
That would have given Rutgers six days to prepare the field for the Nov. 4 double-header. Not a full week, but pretty close. The school also made the call before the Yankees even advanced, so it makes sense other factors likely weighed into this decision.
One of those factors: a $750,000 stadium rental fee Rutgers now gets refunded in full, with no future obligations to return to the Bronx, NJ.com also reported. Now with the Yankees completely out of the picture, this detail comes under more scrutiny.
Just two days prior to the announcement, Rutgers university president Robert Barchi had released a “financial roadmap” for the Scarlet Knights’ athletic department. The four-year plan decreases athletic funding to its bare minimum, as Barchi plans to cut institutional athletic funding to just the $2 million required by Title IX in the 2020-21 school year, when the school becomes a full partner of the Big Ten, according to NJ.com.
The plan appears to be a reaction to the combination of the athletics department expecting to be nearly $24 million in debt by 2021 from loans and interest, after borrowing from its university bank to pay two coaches and an athletic director it already fired, and Rutgers getting larger-than-expected Big Ten shares until it completes integration, due to the conference’s newest television deal.
So the Scarlet Knights get to move the “Battle in the Bronx” out of the Bronx. The move seems as connected to the current state of Rutgers athletics as it was to the Yankees’ (now-crushed) World Series hopes. It’s fine. Just don’t spit in my mouth and tell me it’s raining.
In other news
Men’s soccer has now dropped two straight for the first time since 2009, after losing to Coastal Carolina Friday.
Women’s soccer wasn’t able to crack its scoring slump, but did snap a five-game losing streak with a senior night draw against Michigan.
Field hockey ended the season on a high note, handily beating Rutgers on the road and spoiling the Scarlet Knights’ senior day.
No. 5 Wisconsin extended Maryland football’s losing streak to three games on Saturday. It was the expected outcome, though the Terps had some positives in the loss.
It’s time to get excited about college basketball. The Terps held their annual Maryland Madness event this weekend, and it was a fun night, even if it wasn’t the most serious.
Madness was also the first event we covered on our new Snapchat and Instagram accounts. Here’s some highlights from the night:
After being the Terps’ second-leading scorer his freshman year and testing the NBA draft process, expectations have substantially shifted for forward Justin Jackson, The Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus writes.
Damon Evans has his work cut out for him as Maryland’s interim athletic director, but pressure comes with the territory, The Washington Post’s Roman Stubbs writes.
Maryland was given 100/1 odds to win the Big Dance this season, the seventh-highest odds in the conference, from BT Powerhouse.
Basketball season is right around the corner, so the first KenPom rankings of the year have been released and Maryland starts the season ranked No. 41. The Terps are projected to finish the season 20-11, good for eighth in the Big Ten and a spot below... Penn State?! K...