It’s not a bad time to be in the B1G.
That seemed to be the thinking after Michigan released a projection of a $51.1 million payout per B1G school in 2017-18. Thanks to the new TV contract, the B1G is in for a possible $15 million increase in school payouts.
But not everyone is going to reap those kind of benefits.
Under those projections, Rutgers will only receive $11.6 million as a new member of the conference. The Scarlet Knights will only receive roughly 20 percent of what the other B1G schools receive until 2020-21 (Nebraska is in its first year of receiving equal revenues).
That was part of the agreement when Rutgers joined the B1G. According to NJ.com columnist Steve Politi, Rutgers got a “lousy deal” from the B1G for not getting a bigger piece of the revenue pie.
Politi explained out the Knights gave the B1G the New York market and how the massive new TV deal was the primary reason those payouts jumped so high. He gave credit to B1G commissioner Jim Delany for recognizing that Rutgers “just wanted a lifeboat and ended up on a Carnival cruise ship.”
Here was an excerpt from Politi’s column:
You have to hand it to Delany. As the critics were snickering about adding Rutgers, he was positioning the Big Ten to become richer and even more powerful as the college landscape shifted. He has earned every penny of a $20 million bonus he is set to receive — which, of course, is more than Rutgers will get in any of the first six years in the league.
Rutgers is part of his fiefdom now, and in the long-term, the Scarlet Knights will reap the benefits of these massive paydays. For now, though, they’re lining up against Michigan and Ohio State with one-fifth of the revenue from the league. At least Delany didn’t demand to rename the place.
It’s an interesting point, and an uncommon one. Many people think of Rutgers, which finished in last place in the conference the last two years, was saved by the B1G after leaving the Big East in 2012.
Rutgers will get the $50 million checks beginning in 2020-21, though one can’t help but wonder how much separation the Knights will have in the facilities department until that happens.
For what it’s worth, other new members of the B1G during the booming TV revenue era (Maryland and Nebraska) had similar deals worked out with the B1G.
Whatever the case, “Rutgers got bailed out by the B1G” is not a consensus opinion.