Now the AP has moved a story about the Schianogate scandals that threaten to destroy what little reputation Rutgers has left. The reporter quotes Professor Wm. Dowling: “Rutgers is well on the way to becoming what students call a school of last resort,” said William C. Dowling, a professor of English. “That is death to a school of Rutgers’ history, stature and tradition. And sports have been entirely responsible for the damage.”
Ouch. And it gets worse. Dozens of newspapers across the country have picked up the AP story, where they read this: “critics note that Rutgers’ place in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings has been slipping. In the latest edition, it was 24th among public universities, down from 16th in 1998.”
Ouch again. The more money that goes into football, the less is left for academics and the proof of that is in the steady rating decline during the Slick McCormick-Mulcahy III era of sports first.
Meantime, and despite the many millions spent on football, Rutgers opened its season yesterday with a loss characterized by clueless play and clueless coaching. The Ledger’s Steve Politi nicely sums up how bad the afternoon was here. He writes: “those $650 seats in the luxury suites might be landing on eBay in record numbers, because unless something changes, this season is going nowhere.”
As Paul Franklin wrote in Gannett, “This is a program that is supposed to be on the way up, a program that plans on buying so it no longer has to rent. The rent was due Monday. How embarrassing.”
Which brings us back to the reckless, foolhardy, stupid stadium expansion where another $100 million, give or take, apparently will be poured into building 14,000 new seats which no one will want. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, Rutgers Stadium will stand half-empty for the Army game as fan dissatisfaction erupts into booing and widespread rejection of an inferior sports product — albeit an expensive product that shows little payback. As the elder Richard McCormick suggested to the New York Times 10 years ago, this is no place for small time college football. “Rutgers could have trouble making money on sports because of its location, said Richard McCormick, the university historian. With the New York Giants, the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles nearby, New Jersey residents are less likely to attend college football games, he said.”
Meantime, Class of 1970 alumnus Doug Remer (a Florida reverend) has a poignant look at the cut Olympic sports in today’s Targum. Read it for a glimpse of what Rutgers could be, should be.