Here’s a curiosity for you: The Athletic Department brags that campus tours by prospective students are up 65%, which the Athletic Department attributes to football. “The achievements on the field have contributed to greater interest by prospective students,” says a prepared release. But why then are applications only up 3.5%, per the Star Ledger? The obvious answer would appear to be that the visitors did not like what they saw — the rotting College Avenue campus, the dysfunctional Livingston campus, the detached Cook campus, the neglected Douglass campus, and the sterile Busch campus which, together, just do not a compelling university make. A fast 30 minutes walking around the College Avenue campus and eyeing the deferred maintenance — buildings literally rotting — ought to be ample to persuade any high schooler to head elsewhere for schooling. They can always catch the Scarlet Knights on TV.
This is what happens when the money spigot for football is full force and the revenues available for academics and related infrastructure improvements are a scant trickle.
Of course another puzzle piece is how the Athletic Department knows that better football performance is the cause of the increase in tours. Were there polls? Surveys? Anything quantitative? No. The Athletic Department apparently is happy simply to state that better football brought in more visitors. Say it loud enough and often enough and it will stick is the guiding principle of the Rutgers Athletic Department.
And still it cannot explain why the 65% increase in visitors translated into a negligible increase in applicants.