The Newark Star-Ledger is reporting that prominent New Jersey politicians, including Governor Chris Christie and Senator Frank Lautenberg, have offered to lobby for Rutgers University athletics during the ongoing period of conference reshuffling. Those gestures are appreciated, and it may well make sense for RU to tap those resources behind the scenes. In public however, there is little value to making a public spectacle, making Rutgers savvy to request that local politicians stay in the background now.
Rutgers's entire bid to join the ACC and Big Ten is centered around dignity, prudence, and good judgment. Rutgers is the academically-oriented athletic program where student athletes don't make headlines for the wrong reasons. Nothing makes a school or an athletic department look worse than in appearing to prostrate and beg through the media. What did Louisville and West Virginia get out of Mitch McConnell and Joe Manchin trading press releases besides negative publicity? In fact, WVU's suit against the Big East publicly cites the comments of UConn president Susan Herbst and CT Governor Dan Malloy.
Rutgers is clearly making the right call in trying to stay low key, and maneuvering behind the scenes. Besides, nothing's going to happen until Missouri and Notre Dame move anyway. Wouldn't it just be perfect if ND jumps to the ACC, and Boston College ends up blocking UConn's bid for the ACC due to their inability to keep their collective mouths shut in 2003? That scenario could be very well in play at the moment, and would be the perfect validation for Rutgers and Tim Pernetti playing it cool and refusing to panic.