SBD/February 13, 2014/Colleges

Rutgers To Pay AAC $11.5M Settlement For Exit Out Of Athletic Budget

Rutgers Univ. yesterday announced that it has "agreed to pay" an $11.5M penalty for "withdrawing early" from the AAC, according to Patricia Alex of the Bergen RECORD. Rutgers will join the Big Ten on July 1, withdrawing "one year early from its membership in the AAC." School officials hope the new conference will "help its athletic department get out of the red and become self-supporting." Rutgers has "projected that over the next 12 years the increase in revenue from moving to the Big Ten" will approach $200M. Rutgers President Robert Barchi in a statement said, "One-time restructuring costs like this settlement and the costs associated with canceling a previous marketing contract are more than offset by anticipated revenues from the Big Ten and from our new marketing partner IMG College." Rutgers Dir of Media Relations E.J. Miranda also noted that it cost Rutgers $7M last year to "break its contract with Nelligan Sports Marketing." The school said that the new contract with IMG "could generate" $65M in revenue over the next decade, a number "twice as rich" as the deal with Nelligan. Rutgers, after announcing its intention to withdraw from the AAC, said that it faced $10M in "penalties from the conference," but yesterday said that the conference "actually was seeking" $15M from the school. Miranda said that the money to pay the penalty "will come from the athletic budget"  (Bergen RECORD, 2/13).

SEPARATION ANXIETY: A school spokesperson said that Rutgers under the deal "will not pay the entire $11.5 million exit fee in a single check," as it already has paid $5M to the AAC -- $2.5M when it announced it was leaving last year and an additional $2.5M the conference withheld from the school last June. The spokesperson added that the remaining $6.5M "will be paid over four years, with Rutgers sending the first payment Sept. 1," and that the school also will receive a $1.5M payment from the AAC this spring for its December appearance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (NJ.com, 2/12). ESPN.com's Brian Bennett wrote under the header, "B1G Expects Easy Move For Terps, Rutgers." Big Ten Senior Associate Commissioner Mark Rudner said, "I think we’re in a pretty good place. We've sort of approached Rutgers and Maryland as we approached Nebraska three years ago: we acclimate them, help them, welcome them and integrate them. And then, we really go forward and don’t look back" (ESPN.com, 2/12).
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