Barchi talks benefits from Big Ten deal
University brand will expand to gain research partnerships, he says
News of University Athletics’ spot in the Big Ten conference last week caught many students by surprise — which is what University President Robert L. Barchi intended.
He said he expected some commotion in response to Athletics leaving the Big East Conference after being a member for more than two decades.
“I hope it was a surprise because we worked awfully hard to keep it quiet until the last minute,” Barchi said last night during a School of Engineering Governing Council Meeting.
A key benefit of the deal will be increased revenues the University will receive from heightened publicity as a result of its spot in the Big Ten, he said.
Big Ten schools are predicted to each bring in $40 million by 2017, a big increase over the $6.5 million the University received last year from TV and Bowl appearances in the Big East, according to nj.com.
“This is a pretty big deal for athletics because it gives us the opportunity to move in to a market where the revenues from the media with athletics can begin to cover the costs of athletics,” Barchi told a crowd of about 100 students.
The new president is also looking forward to the University’s formal vote into the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a collaborative academic group including all of the Big Ten schools.
Admission to the cooperation would provide the University an opportunity to share resources with top-class universities across the country, he said.
“A lot of [the University’s research] is driven eventually by the people and faculty members, but when you have a pathway that allows you to access great universities, it’s easier to do,” he said.
The deal is essentially finished, said Barchi, who expects an announcement to be made at a Dec. 4 meeting between the conference’s presidents.
Barchi hopes to see success for the University that is similar to the other Big Ten universities — all of which achieved significant growth in their academic and research profiles in the five years after joining the conference, he said.
The move is also expected to improve the University’s brand name throughout the country, a priority Barchi has mentioned since he took office in Old Queens last spring.
“We have pretty good name recognition now but what we don’t have is what’s behind the name. What do you want people to see? What’s the message? We need to have a marketing campaign that puts that message out there,” he said.
Barchi said the University would gain wider recognition across the country just from TV spots afforded by its new Big Ten status. He also hopes to use commercials to express the University’s vision.
“I got involved in the [advertisement] out there now just after I took this job in the spring ... and put in three researchers to highlight what the faculty members are doing,” he said. “I would love to take three student organizations to do that with the students as well.”
Barchi is the latest in a series of guest speakers the Engineering Governing Council has hosted this semester including Jack Molenaar, director of the Department of Transportation Services, and Patrick Love, associate vice president of Student Affairs, said Jay Ravaliya, president of the council.
“The main motivating factor was to hold an event where students can attend a student-hosted forum to have questions answered directly related to their Rutgers experience,” Ravaliya said.
Ravaliya, a School of Engineering senior, said it is important for officials like Barchi to keep open communication with students to address issues effectively.
“Especially during a time like this where there are many changes taking place, collaboration among students and administration is important,” he said. “I was really glad president Barchi had various events … to meet students, and I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more ... throughout the year.”