PISCATAWAY, N.J. — As the Big East was being picked apart, Rutgers was looking for a way out and a new place to show off a football program that has been resurrected in the past decade.
Not only did the Scarlet Knights find that escape hatch, they ended up in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in college sports.
Rutgers joined the Big Ten on Tuesday, leaving the Big East behind and cashing in on the school's investment in a football team that only 10 years ago seemed incapable of competing at the highest level.
The move follows Maryland's announcement a day earlier that it was heading to the Big Ten in 2014. The Big Ten now has 14 schools and a presence in lucrative East Coast markets.
Rutgers announced its decision at a campus news conference attended by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, Rutgers president Robert Barchi and athletic director Tim Pernetti.
"The Big Ten is really where Rutgers belongs," Barchi said. "This is not just a good fit for us athletically, it's a good fit for us academically and as an institution."
Rutgers has been competing in the Big East since 1991. But the league has been torn up by realignment, losing three key members last year.
Pernetti had insisted that Rutgers would land on its feet and that being a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities and residing in the nation's largest media market would ensure the school wouldn't be cast aside as the landscape of college sports changed.
The Scarlet Knights landed in the best possible spot.
"It's a transformative day for Rutgers University, and transformative in so many ways," Pernetti said. "This is about collaboration at every level, the perspective the Big Ten institutions have, the balance between academics and athletics, proving over decades and decades that athletics at the highest level and academics at the highest level can coexist. It's the perfect place for Rutgers."
Rutgers left its entry date ambiguous, though the Big Ten and the school would like it to line up with Maryland.
Meanwhile, San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk said the Aztecs are committed to a future in the Big East in 2013 despite Rutgers' jump.
"I can say the Big East took a hit," Sterk said. "It may take some others, but I can tell you the league will continue to be strong."
CAL CANS COACH: Coach Jeff Tedford was fired after 11 seasons at California that began with great promise and ended with a run of mediocrity.
Tedford engineered an impressive turnaround for the Golden Bears after taking over a one-win team following the 2001 season. He won a school-record 82 games, churned out numerous NFL prospects and spearheaded a facilities upgrade highlighted by a $321 million stadium renovation.
But he never matched early success that included two 10-win seasons in his first five years and a share of the 2006 conference title. The program bottomed out this season, losing the final five games to finish 3-9 for Tedford's worst season at the helm.
BOWL MOVING: The Fight Hunger Bowl will move from San Francisco to the 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., once the venue is completed in 2014.
IDAHO ST.: Coach Mike Kramer announced he is not retaining four assistant coaches after the team went 1-10, 0-8 in the Big Sky.
WESTERN KENTUCKY: Defensive end and national sacks co-leader Quanterus Smith is done for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.