Schianogate: “An Affront to us all”

The Asbury Park Press editorial opens with a slashing lead:

“Rutgers University’s under-the-radar deals to boost football coach Greg Schiano’s compensation — which already included $1.6 million in base pay — were an affront to every state taxpayer and university student.

The reaction to this week’s disclosure of the contract changes by the Star-Ledger added insult to injury. Schiano basically shrugged his shoulders. Athletic Director Robert Mulcahy remained uncomfortably silent. And university President Richard McCormick offered weak apologies.”

The Press of Atlantic City joins in: “There is such a thing as going too far. Rutgers is there. The taxpayer-funded state university’s attempt to build a national football dynasty has, to borrow a phrase, jumped the shark.”

The Bergen Record raises its voice: “Recently, there was a loud outcry from Governor Corzine and pretty much every elected official in New Jersey about the reported $740,000 retirement payout to Keansburg schools Superintendent Barbara Trzeszkowski.

We agree the payout was outrageous. But if Trzeszkowski’s severance package was outrageous, why isn’t Schiano’s annual compensation?”

That makes seven major New Jersey newspapers that have editorialized against Schianogate, the cover-ups, the greed and deception that have emerged as the hallmarks of athletic director Mulcahy III’s rule at Rutgers.

Meantime, In These Times, in a piece about what ails higher education in general, takes time to highlight Rutgers: “In New Jersey, the highest-paid public employee is Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano, who grossed nearly $1.8 million in 2007, including an $800,000 interest-free home loan that the university agreed to pay for, according to a February 2008 article in the local Courier-Post newspaper. Schiano amassed this exorbitant salary while other sports programs — not to mention courses and academic resources — continue to be slashed.”

And the count of newspapers covering Schianogate continues to soar. Way to go, Messrs. Mulcahy and McCormick. You have succeeded in making Rutgers nationally recognized as a low-brow sports factory with an administration so besotted with the odor of jock straps that it has turned a coach with a lifetime losing record into one of the sport’s highest paid.

It is time for the legislature to investigate the secret deals, the hidden payments, and who knows what else that the reign of Mulcahy III is making Rutgers famous for.

And it is time for the 70 year-old Mulcahy III to retire. He clearly is out of touch — out of touch with the state’s struggling taxpayers, with the crumbling of academic standards at Rutgers, and with the voluminous literature that demonstrates football is unlikely to do anything good for Rutgers.

We don’t need a $130+ million stadium expansion. We need truth, honesty, full disclosure — those are what universities are here to promote. Not the boozy, brainless Saturdays that Mulcahy, McCormick, et. al. want to put at the core of the Rutgers experience.

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