The quest to plant roots in the New York market led the Big Ten to add Rutgers in November 2012.

In the 18 months since the marriage was announced, fans of the venerable conference have watched their new member implode. There was the abusive men's basketball coach who lost his job and the replacement who was hired without a college degree. The athletic director didn't survive that scandal, but his replacement brought her own baggage — allegations that she verbally abused players when she coached volleyball at Tennessee.

More recently, the new AD — Julie Hermann — told Rutgers journalism students that it would be "great" if New Jersey's largest newspaper closed. And that story surfaced just before the school invited, disinvited, and finally reinvited paralyzed former football player and beloved campus presence Eric LeGrand to take part in this spring's commencement ceremony.

Finally, there was a story out of Big Ten country: Philip Nelson, a Rutgers quarterback, was kicked off the team after he was arrested for assault in his home state of Minnesota.

Given the rap sheet at New Jersey's state university, it's not surprising Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was recently asked if he was feeling any "buyer's remorse."

"No buyer's remorse at all," Delany told reporters at the Big Ten spring meetings last week in Rosemont, Ill. "When I go to Jersey, when I go to New York, I go to support, not to judge. So they have a board of trustees, they have administrators; they are fully capable of handling personnel matters."

The addition of Rutgers and Maryland is part of the Big Ten's move to the East. Delany talked last week about the importance of the Washington D.C.-New York corridor, where almost 20 percent of the conference's six million living alumni reside.

Also, the Big Ten Network is seeking cable subscribers on the East Coast. So adding schools in a new territory is natural for a brand-conscious conference.

But Rutgers?

"The problem you have is that New York is a pro market and you need a school that has some connection to the New York marketplace in order to establish a beachhead in the market," said New York-based sports media consultant Lee Berke. "The Big Ten is trying with Rutgers."

UConn, of course, would be an obvious alternative for a conference looking to carve a niche in the Big Apple. Husky fans took over Madison Square Garden when the men's basketball team was there for the NCAA Tournament, a reminder of the school's deep roots in New York.

The MSG appearance was part of UConn's unforgettable spring run to dual NCAA titles, capping a year that included a national title in field hockey. And all of the success in Storrs was all unfolding as Rutgers endured its run of embarrassing flaps.

But UConn is not a member of the Association of American Universities, an organization of the leading research universities in America and Canada. Rutgers and Maryland are members, as is every Big Ten member except Nebraska. And Nebraska was a member when the school was invited into the Big Ten in 2010. The school was voted out of the AAU in 2011 because it failed meet the organization's criteria.

But Nebraska remains in the Big Ten, despite its removal from the AAU. And while league officials cited membership in the AAU when the Big Ten was expanding four years ago, it's unclear if membership is a requirement.

After all, the Big Ten reportedly pursued Notre Dame, which is not a member of the AAU. The only Connecticut school in the AAU is Yale; the other New England schools are Harvard, Brandeis, Brown, Boston University and MIT, none of which are athletic powers.

Another obstacle for UConn is the size of Rentschler Field, which would likely require an expansion of its capacity from 40,000 to 50,000 to entice the football-centric Big Ten. According to NCAA figures, UConn's football program averaged 30,932 last season, well below the lowest average attendance in the Big Ten (Northwestern, 39,307).

Rutgers averaged 46,549 in the 52,454-seat High Point Solutions Stadium. Overall, the Big Ten's average attendance was 70,431 in 2013, with Michigan (111,592), Ohio State (104,933), Penn State (96.857) and Nebraska (90,933) leading.

The smallest stadiums in the Big Ten are Indiana's Memorial Stadium (52,929) and Northwestern's Ryan Field (49,256).

Still, could UConn — which remains in the American Athletic Conference — be a future option for the Big Ten? Delany hasn't commented on future expansion and conference realignment/expansion seems to have settled all over the country, at least for the foreseeable future.

But the move east is very much a priority for the Big Ten.

"We are trying to build a larger conference in two regions," Delany said last week.

Meanwhile, the desire to move into the New York market rests on the shoulders of Rutgers. There have been more than a few stories and columns both nationally and in Big Ten territory that questioned the conference's decision to add Rutgers and not UConn.

The headline of a Toledo Blade story: "UConn's success clouds Big Ten pick." Or this headline on a column in The Record (N.J.): "UConn's success envied around nation, especially in N.J."

The sports website The Big Lead had this blog post earlier this month: "5 Schools The Big Ten Could Have Added That Were Better Options Than Rutgers." And this from respected Yahoo! Sports columnist Pat Forde: "We know the Soviet Union wishes it never went into the incurable chaos of Afghanistan. Now it's time to wonder whether the Big Ten feels the same about plucking Rutgers."

But even before UConn was viewed as an attractive option, Rutgers was tripping over itself. The school's athletic programs have never had much success on the court or on the field, but its recent run of mishaps has cast the athletic department in a negative light.

First, basketball coach Mike Rice was caught on video berating players in practice. The money shot: Rice throwing a basketball at a player.

The fallout from the Rice scandal cost AD Tim Pernetti his job. His replacement, Hermann, brought her own issues. It turned out that Rice's replacement, Eddie Jordan, didn't actually graduate from Rutgers, though the school's official bio said he did..

And while the Scarlet Knights were losing in the marquee sports — 6-7 in football last fall, 12-21 in men's basketball over the winter — the negative publicity didn't subside. The story of Hermann's comments about the Newark Star-Ledger surfaced while UConn was in the Final Four, leading pundits to wonder again if the Big Ten took the wrong school as its New York presence.

"Look, there is no Top 25, major athletic program school that is located in the center of Manhattan," Berke said. "So there's a tradeoff with Rutgers. ... I think the feeling from the Big Ten is that they've established a beachhead in New York, they've establish an office in New York. It seems like they're just starting. So I don't see that any of this is going to be an issue for them."

Berke's point: Big Ten leadership is looking long-term and there is little concern about how Rutgers is perceived currently. As the conference attempts to get its network onto more East Coast cable carriers and attract interest from fans and alumni in a new region, Delany is looking at the big picture.

"These things sort of have to take their course and the seeds you're planting now may not take root for years to come, but that's why they're putting in the effort now," Berke said. "They're trying to make themselves into more a national conference. In that regard, there are tradeoffs. You have fewer geographic rivalries, but then again you're getting bigger audiences potentially down the road. … None of these things happen immediately where you turn on that light switch. All of this takes time. The results of these moves in relation to cable distribution and network distribution may not play itself out for another five to 10 years. These are long-term moves and the Big Ten can afford to make these long-term moves."

Delany, the Big Ten's calm leader, didn't seem to be fretting about Rutgers when questions were posed last week. Hermann dodged reporters at the meetings, but Delany offered support for his new member.

"The Big Ten typically does not get involved in personnel matters at the athletic director, coach, presidential level," Delany said. "So when I come, I come to support and to enhance the integration of Rutgers, but not to make any particular judgments on personnel situations."