Is this Rutgers RIP?

The Star Ledger reports the BoG is primed to proceed with the cockamamie, wreckless and fiscally stupid plan to spend $102 million in funds the university does not have on a stadium expansion that no one wants.  Due to the global recession, apparently plans have been scaled back — producing a Yugo of a stadium instead of an Aston Martin.  But slice and dice the numbers as you will and this financial commitment will mean more money siphoned away from academics and into propping up the House that Greg’s Ego Built.  Pity, Rutgers used to be a school.  Now it is becoming just another mediocre sports franchise.  And do you think donors will line up to support that?

 

Rutgers RIP.

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6 Responses to Is this Rutgers RIP?

  1. Diogenes says:

    If I were an RU1000 member, I wouldn’t worry unduly about the so-called “stadium continuation.” There are reasons why it’s being announced now, and reasons why, at a later point, a “reevaluation of options” is going to become imperative. One of those options will be killing the project entirely. It will be, with “great regret,” the one chosen when the time comes. Nobody on the BOG — well, to be accurate, only two people –thinks that, with Mulcahy gone and Schiano on his way out, millions of dollars needs to be spent providing a huge empty expanse of unoccupied seats.

    The serious question is what is to be done with the existing stadium. It would cost millions of dollars to take a wrecking ball to the thing and replace it with a smaller modern stadium — as Princeton did with the “old” Palmer Stadium a few years ago — more suited to the more “collegiate” level at which Rutgers will be playing in a few years. And Rutgers is in a state of financial emergency. You can’t afford a wrecking ball, let alone a stadium expansion.

    As an outside observer, it seems to me that there are more serious issues RU1000 ought to be thinking about right now. Getting the six “participatory” sports back would be my number one priority if I were you. It would be economical, accomplished with a single vote on the BOG, and do an enormous amount to raise morale among the remaining “amateur” athletes on campus. (Many of whom, admittedly, have transferred to better schools, as did young Pantel when he left for Brown after they eliminated his team. But with the six sports back, you’d begin to draw real amateur athletes and top students again.)

    Once Rutgers resumed competition against its traditional rivals in those sports — especially very old rivalries like those with Yale, Princeton, Cornell, etc in sports like crew — there would be a powerful counterbalance to the horror of the school’s present association in the public mind with unutterable places like the ‘University’ of South Florida and the ‘University’ of Louisville.

    When, in the post-Mulcahy/Schiano era, the football franchise withers on the vine, it will be time to talk about returning Rutgers to its historic roots in football and other Div I sports. When the economic situation straightens out, you will be able to talk about razing the current stadium and building a smaller modern structure suited to attendance by “real” students and “real” alumni. Those of you who live in the immediate area should make a trip over to Princeton to look at their new “small” Palmer Stadium. You can see immediately why students and alumni — people legitimately connected with the school rather than beer-swilling morons — love to go to games on a nice autumn afternoon.

  2. Robb says:

    You really didn’t think they would not finish the stadium did you? The Alumni would be up in arms. It’s entertaining watching RU 1000 trying to achieve its objectives. Have you been able to accomplish any of them? Do you think the new AD is going to be any better then the last one? What about the next President of the University? You kids need to ponder the phrase “The more things change the more they stay the same”. This is especially true for the situation your in.

    Rutgers football will go through with the stadium expansion. One of the nations top QB’s has already committed to the program. Progress is imminent.

    I’m glad you guys are looking out for the well being of the Academic community but you’re fighting the wrong fight. Look for money elsewhere! For a bunch of alleged intelligent individuals I would of thought you’d of figured that out by now.

  3. Shoeless Joe says:

    Diogenes, I find it somewhat amazing that you think they will someday in the future bring in a wrecking ball and demolish the stadium 150 million dollars) and replace it will a smaller version (an extra 80 million + demolition costs) for the real students and real alumni. I am comfounded by your business sense, did you take any economics class? Even if the D1 football team is operating a million dollar los that would be less than if the played at a D1AA (FCS level) those schools run at a negative 3 million plus per year. As a realist, I see the University depending on the football to help support the other sports I would like to see the some of these sports receive full funding from the Athletic Department (swimming, tennis) I think crew would be better served as a club level sport but with the ability to be incorporated and have funding to offer endowments to offset the cost of school.

    The other question I have is how you make a determination of what a real student or alum is? Is it based on GPA? Donations to the University? On going support to the University- a board that helps raise funds for RU? Professional success? Your classification is a beer-swilling morons: I know fans who are national recognized Registrars- top on their field, CEO’s , Dr’s, lawyers, teachers, business professionals- Dow Jones, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Loreal, Kraft foods, Campbell’s , J&J, Avaya, professors., Board members for the National Trust of Historic Preservation, and even clergy. So you real alum’s concept does not work for me. Bigtime sports is here to stay and so are the alums who donate to those sports.

  4. kenny says:

    I went to rutgers. i graduated with highest honors, phi beta kappa, etc. i am not an idiot, and will be an attorney within a year.

    – I do not understand any of your logic at all. You want us to compete with yale, princeton, lehigh, lafayette. RUTGERS HAS NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THEM!! Rutgers became a huge state school – it gave up its private school status while none of the others did. Your group, like the “party not in office,” offers ideas, yet no solutions. Do you propose that we give up state funding, keep rutgers college on college ave and bring douglass to being an all girls school. Do you want to get rid of livingston, cook, and university college.

    Also, your reasoning “because money goes to football, it does not go to academics,” lacks any logical sense. How do you reconcile that some people who give money to football never gave money to academics, and never will. It is not a comparison of money to a, and money to a. This is apples and oranges. Your reasoning is that some people pay 50,000 to get a benz, and some spend 50,000 to get a bmw – and that they are both the same!! People do no’t all want the same thing, and don’t buy the same things. It is not the situation that the 100,000 dollar donation goes into a pool, and then is allotted to one over the other. people earmark their donations for certain things – some for football and some for academics.

    and if you are financing a stadium with municipal bonds, you are taking a loan on interest. it is not possible to do that with academics!! there will be no market. academics do not generate revenue!!!

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE explain your logic!!

  5. Alum from the Banks says:

    Kenny,

    You are not an idiot. It appears though that you do need some clarification.

    You are missing a couple of key points here. First, academics does not make a “profit” because it is not a capitalist venture. Universities are not businesses (except for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix Online). They are supported by tuition, donations and grants (and in Rutgers’ case state funding).

    On the other hand, big-time sports tries to operate as a business and without the support of the academic institution’s endowment and non-profit status, would probably go bankrupt in 2 years. Donating even $1 million to football to help cover a $16 million budget still leaves $15 million to make up. Say Rutgers gets another $6 million from tickets and $3 million from endorsements, that leaves $6 million in the red (this is just an estimate and I imagine that the numbers get worse in most seasons).

    As for donations, yes, most money is ear-marked, but as of recent 10% of donations (or 5% of donations over $5,000) must go into a “general university fund,” so even ear-marked money does not all go to where it is intended (I believe this was implemented after the first state budget cut in 2006). Furthermore, athletics is far from run on donations alone, they take money through Student and Athletic fees paid every semester, on top of endorsements and ticket sales.

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just not incur the lesser expense, loose a couple of donations and tell the people to go buy Giants tix from StubHub? They’d save a lot of money and see a much better team, while Rutgers becomes free of shouldering excess debt and can fix broken buildings and offer students more financial support?

    Millions of dollars are spent and lost every year on big-time athletics. Now, say we spent $10 million on our entire athletics budget instead of just $16 million or so on football alone. That frees up a lot of money. I love football, but I think we need to make education the priority in New Jersey, not college football.

    Yes, big-time athletics and academics are apples to oranges, they have practically nothing to really do with each other. They have been a strange marriage from the beginning.

    I would recommend reading this fairly old essay written by William Dowling:

    http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~wcd/prostitu.htm

    It clears up some of the common misconceptions about the fight against big-time athletics.

  6. bronxboy says:

    Kenny, as a lawyer it’s surprising you’re fashioning an argument without first understanding or establishing the underlying factual predicate. The money donated to and generated by the football program is insufficient to cover the costs of fielding a big time team. The losses are covered by money that must be diverted from academics. RU has never denied this reality, but has promised every year that with more “investment” the program will eventually break even or make a profit. Given the dynamics of winner take all markets, don’t hold your breath waiting for that day.

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