“Football Fantasy at Rutgers”

The New York Times has joined the posse of newspapers editorializing about misdirection at Rutgers and the first sentence sets up what follows: “Ever since Rutgers, New Jersey’s largest state university, began its campaign several years ago to become a big-time football power, bad things have happened.”

Ouch, Old Queens, ouch!

And it gets worse: “This single-minded, ask-no-questions push for football stardom has now reached a crisis.”

The Times also says of university president Slick McCormick that he “has long been a shameless cheerleader for the high-stakes football program.”

The Times continues: “In a logical world, Rutgers officials would swallow their egos and admit that their football fantasy was ill conceived, especially in view of New Jersey’s huge debt. They would scale down the stadium project, especially since the university couldn’t even fill the existing stadium when the team had losing seasons.”

Just what will happen in this illogical world of ours? The Times doesn’t know, and neither do we. But we know what should happen. Rutgers needs to pull out of bigtime football, athletic director Mulcahy III should be fired for jocksniffing to a criminal extent, Slick McCormick should be fired for abandonment of his position, and the rest of Rutgers needs to return to being a university.

What part of: there is no meaningful support for the reckless Phase 2 stadium expansion, which is prohibitively costly and wanted by so few, is hard to understand?

What part of: despite pouring millions into the Raritan in a puerile pursuit of bigtime football, the Rutgers team still is mediocre on its better days, is hard to understand?

What part of: NJ doesn’t need a Louisville of the North, it needs a Berkeley of the east, is hard to understand?

The Times, for its part, points fingers of blame where they belong: at the jocksniffing Trenton hacks who refuse money for academics but open the state’s coffers for football. “Rutgers is a public university, and its spending should be monitored closely by state officials. But Gov. Jon Corzine and most of the state legislators are big Rutgers football fans, and that does not make for much of a check on spending.”

Meantime, the Bergen Record, in its Friday editorial, tears into Rutgers: “Fiscal responsibility is absent at Rutgers. And state officials refuse to rein in the excesses. While these same officials argue for reductions in benefits for state employees and a reduction in state spending, they allow Rutgers to spend and borrow millions of dollars for its football program.” Along the way, the Record calls the Nelligan-Mulcahy tie-up a conflict of interest (it is), it mocks McCormick’s returning his undeserved $100k bonus, and it expresses profound disgust at Greedy Greg Schiano’s inflated pay package. When the Record is done, it doesn’t leave much skin on the Rutgers leadership. “Where is Governor Corzine’s outrage? Why is he not demanding the resignations of the rubber-stamping members of Rutgers’ board of governors? Why is he not questioning McCormick’s leadership and priorities? Why isn’t the Legislature demanding a change of leadership at Rutgers?”

It is time to clean house at Trenton, booting out the hacks, the jocksniffers, the Neanderthals, from Seatbelt Corzine to Three Ring Codey.

As for the Rutgers community, our question has to be: how much more embarrassment need we endure? Schianogate has become a poster child for all that can afflict higher education when the powers that be (in our case: Slick, Mulcahy III, and the jocksniffing BoG) are so intoxicated by a Quixotic (read: stupid) pursuit of “bigtime” sports glories that they forget the foundational purpose of a university is education. When even the august NYTimes joins in mocking our university leadership, there can be no further disputing the fact that Rutgers needs new leadership.

We believe the count is now 0 newspapers editorializing for the Rutgers football hysteria, nine against. Even a booster should be able to understand a shutout score.

It’s Friday, have a listen to what we are listening to. Now, that is something we can get behind.

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