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Conference Realignment: Rutgers University Responds To West Virginia University Departure

As the Big East Conference slowly begins to morph into a league that no one will soon recognize, Rutgers University is looking to making plans to survive the latest conference realignment news, which has West Virginia University accepting an invitation to the Big 12 Conference.

"The landscape in collegiate athletics continues to be a very fluid situation and we continue to be involved in discussions," Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said Tuesday. "We remain extremely confident that the result once the movement concludes will be very positive for Rutgers University.

"While there is going to be a period of time between now and then that will cause our constituents and fans a certain level of anxiety, given the unique assets we possess, including our strong and growing academic profile, our AAU (Association of American Universities) status and the location and high level of interest surrounding Rutgers in the nation’s largest television market, we feel confident in the end result for Rutgers."

It is pretty clear that Rutgers, along with the rest of the Big East's football-playing members -- the University of Connecticut, the University of Louisville, the University of South Florida and the University of Cincinnati -- are a bit uneasy about the current situation.

"It's hard to feel any anger towards West Virginia over the move, just envy," wrote SB Nation's Rutgers blog On The Banks Tuesday. "Rutgers, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh led the fight over the summer to drag the Big East kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. John Marinatto and co. responded by saying, "no thanks, we're good. By the way, you have to add Villanova or else."

Currently, there are no official options for the Scarlet Knights except to stay in the Big East and hope things work out. Of course, the best theoretical option for Rutgers is the Big 10 Conference or Big 12 would like to expand to 14 or 16 programs and its on the list of candidates to aide that expansion.

Rutgers is a solid university, however, besides its football program, which failed to qualify for a bowl game last season, it really doesn't have another big-time sport that may attract other conferences. If a league was going to add a current Big East program, it would probably take Louisville first then UConn. Both of those universities not only have decent football programs, but each has a men's basketball program that is one of the best in the country.

The Scarlet Knights do have the best television market, New York City, to use to their advantage and an up-to-date athletics facilities -- but, which programs doesn't have that nowadays?

As the Big East slowly collapses, it will be interesting to see where Rutgers ends up. Will it be one of the universities that stays and helps the league survive? Or, will it join the ranks and try to find a safe haven someplace else?

-- For more on this, check out SB Nation's On The Banks and its college football hubpage.