McCormick 64, Rutgers Students 0

It’s official: Rutgers now ranks as the 64th university in the country, tied with Texas A & M and behind such powerhouse institutions of learning as Clemson, Pitt (#58), Georgia (#58), and Pepperdine (#56). That is per the newly released US News & World Report ratings.

That is a stunning five spot drop from the prior rankings. It also is a complete retreat from the Bloustein-era goal of making Rutgers “the Berkeley of the east” when, as recently as 1997, Rutgers ranked 45 in the nation.

Meantime, new rankings from Forbes peg Rutgers at a stomach-churning 469. That’s below Eastern Carolina, Azusa Pacific, and a pack of colleges you probably have never heard of. By Forbes’ reckoning, Rutgers is one of the nation’s worst colleges. Rutgers is ahead of the College of St. Benedict, tho.

The collapse of educational standards on the Banks in the Slick McCormick era is just about absolute, as the university and New Jersey’s taxpayers have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into football and the return on this investment is a bottom feeder football squad and a university that has fallen far from the top rank of publics. It’s a zero sum game. Put a dollar into football and it has to come from somewhere and that somewhere has been academics. The proof is how far Rutgers has sunk in the academic rankings.

Way to go Slick McCormick, you are well along your goal of transforming the once proud public Ivy into the Louisville of the north!

Just the other day Slick and Mulcahy III issued yet another of their self-serving press statements that concluded with this lovely thought, “Academics and athletics can reinforce each other, which is why Rutgers remains committed to excellence in both.”

Right. Call us when you see either. All we see is mounting mediocrity as the Trentonization of Rutgers moves into its final acts. Who needs top professors or students as long as there are plenty of jobs for political hangers-on? LaRue, Harris, Florio, et. al. — Arthur Kamin, onetime Rutgers Board of Trustee chair, has his finger pointed squarely at you. He writes:

Those jobs may be just the tip of the iceberg. The state and internal investigators should determine what other patronage positions exist, how they were filled and what political influence may have been used to secure employment for the bureaucrats looking to keep their state pensions and perks in force.

The probes of Mulcahy and the athletics department offer an opportunity for investigators to closely examine the political culture that has had a negative impact on Rutgers and other higher education institutions in New Jersey. The question is whether they’re up to the challenge.

Students in New Jersey: our advice is to go elsewhere to university. We no longer are comfortable recommending Rutgers to anybody who wants a collegiate learning experience. New Jersey’s budget crisis isn’t going away. Tuition will continue to go up at Rutgers, at the very time the university keeps cutting the academics to make up for dwindling state support. That is a perfect storm of scholastic ruination and you don’t need a Weatherman to know which way this ill wind blows.

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12 Responses to McCormick 64, Rutgers Students 0

  1. MBA says:

    You can’t seriously cite the Forbes rankings as showing anything at all: it ranks the US Military Academy above Yale and MIT, while the Air Force Academy somehow gets in above Stanford… and UC Berkeley somehow lands outside the top 70!

  2. Rutgers44000 says:

    In the grand plan to improve Rutgers academics, step one is clearly to urge students away from Rutgers. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

  3. RC02 says:

    So Forbes put Princeton as #1, hmmm…. Maclcom and Steven Forbes of Princeton legacy fame? Yeah, no self interest there.
    I hear Meg Whitman will start her own college ranking sytem; guess which school is #1!

    USNWR are based on peer review- guess everyone else except Rutgers admin knows something smells rotten in New Brunswick.

  4. ferdek says:

    These rankings are not particularly analytical but they do help sell the respective magazines. There are surely RU indicators that can be used to gauge over time the quality of the applicants, professors, peer reviews and accreditation although that can be a bit political. RU needs to be tough on itself since it is under the gun. McCormick is not up to that challenge. Slipping to 64th probably is made up of statistical variance and random noise in the data. Need to truly march out generally agreed upon measures in order to have a regime change.

  5. Grumpy Alum says:

    I got an email from the president himself yesterday, informing me that Rutgers had raised $120 million for the last financial year, beating the previous best total by around $10 million. While this is good news, we should be raising record amounts, as we’re now into the 3rd year of the $1 billion drive, and there’s been a lot of work by the foundation on reaching wealthy alumni. I understand that the official figure will be released today; I’d love to hear more about what the big donations were and where they went to. Still, amidst the unrelenting gloom of Dick’s terrible presidency, it’s always good to have something positive to acknowledge.

  6. RC02 says:

    That’s nice to hear; however, Dick has more skeleton’s in his closet than his fellow Yalies’ Skull and Bones.
    He serves at the pleasure of the BOG, and that’s despicable.

  7. Grumpy Alum says:

    RC02 – absolutely, and it’s the BOG that are and have been the biggest enemy of sustained excellence at Rutgers. Were McCormick to be fired tomorrow, I would retain little confidence that his replacement would be selected on grounds of vision, merit, and ability. Rather, I suspect we’d see yet another attempt to fill the position with a weak individual unlikely to stand up to the board on issues of substance. In this sense, the football mania infecting Rutgers isn’t what’s wrong with the univeristy; it’s merely the most overt symptom of the failure of leadership and the inversion of priorities that defines our miserable BOG.

  8. Grumpy Alum says:

    So, Zoffinger’s article is the first confirmation that Rutgers is going to borrow the whole $100 million for the stadium. Unbelievable. And without even the pretence of consultation with the university community who act as guarantors on this lunatic idea…

  9. John Lister says:

    Grumpy: could you help us with a reference here to Rutgers borrowing? I’m not surprised, but would like more details.

    And it’s going to be more than $100M, I’m sure!

  10. Grumpy Alum says:

    I see I bet the R1000 people to the story by 30 minutes! See the latest post.

  11. Jeff says:

    Grumpy Alum…

    I think the President’s email to you could be false. Perhaps you should check this yourself (I could be misreading something), but according to the Rutgers Fact Book (referred to often by this website), the peak fundraising year was in 2001 at 124.3 million. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. I feel like the President of the university should at least refer to the Rutgers factbook before making such claims.

  12. ashok says:

    There’s no doubt Rutgers is in decline, but I don’t know that college rankings help make that case.

    I wish rankings would be clear about their methods and what they expected to gain from them.

    If I had to conduct a survey of colleges, I’d grab a group of juniors and grad students from some representative majors, along with some faculty, up to about 30 or 40 intelligent people who keep track of what’s going on, and see what they had to say about the school and its strengths, weaknesses, and their experience there.

    I wouldn’t rank anything. I’d just publish the interviews or excerpts from the interviews, along with some statistics about student population, admission rate, school funding, whether or not anyone gets scholarships, avg. time to graduate, drop-out rate, etc.

    The fun thing, I think, would be discovering that colleges in general are so corrupt they could disgust the mob. Anything flies when you use rhetoric like “these are the leaders of tomorrow” and “if your children don’t get the best, they won’t have anything in the years to come,” including robbing the people to which one makes that claim blind.

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