Codey Lies, Newspapers Editorialize Against Rutgers

July 24, 2008

Sigh…another day in the state of exits.

The Trenton Times editorializes against Rutgers and Schianogate here. Says the paper in a piece titled Is Schiano Stadium Next?: “the bottom line for a sport that doesn’t seem to have a bottom line is for university presidents to regain control of athletic programs.” Read that again Slick McCormick because, quite plainly, you have lost control. We have no idea who is driving this bus, but we no longer believe you are even on board.

Gannett, meantime, weighs in with its Schianogate-inspired editorial at “The whopper contract of Rutgers University head football coach Greg Schiano leaves a sour taste in the mouths of many people who believe that academics are a bit more important on our college campuses than pep rallies and bowl bids.”

For those counting, that makes four major newspapers that have editorialized against Schianogate, secrecy, hidden payments, and the culture of money laundering that has taken hold at Rutgers.

It gets worse.

The Star Ledger’s Sheneman filed yet another funny cartoon skewering Rutgers and Mulcahy III.

The Ledger also referred its readers to this blog, here and here.

Speaking of Ledger readers, they weigh in here on Schianogate. Don’t miss the one titled “Another Black Eye.”

There’s a wonderful Ledger photo here. Check out the Nixonian body language, a posture that shouts: I will stonewall…I will…I will.

And, nationally, the number of stories skewering Rutgers for the Schianogate scandal just keeps multiplying.

As for NJ Senate president Dick Codey — a poster-boy for all that ails New Jersey’s pay to play political culture, complete with trophy ring souvenirs from Rutgers’ bowl games on his fat little fingers — he is quoted in the Ledger saying: “What [Schiano’s] done to Rutgers University has been tremendous,” Codey said. “The number of applicants is way up. The quality of students has always been good, but it’s better. It’s been great.”

Wake up and smell the jockstraps, Senator Codey. Rutgers’ applications are up negligibly. There’s no meaningful increase in the quality of students. All this is spelled out in the Rutgers Fact Book.

(For vivid proof of Codey’s jocksniffer credentials, check out this photo. He has his nose about as close in the huddle as we think appropriate to imagine on a g-rated site.)

At least Codey’s colleague, state Senator Loretta Weinberg, has her wits about her. The Bergen Record reports that she is joining our call for a full-on investigation into the secrecy, deception, and chicanery that now characterize the Mulcahy III reign. The Record quotes Weinberg: “I do know that when you attempt a “deal” like this, it’s an attempt to hide something at a public university. If you’re embarrassed about what you are doing, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Uh…we guess the ethics implicit in her remarks sail over the heads of Greg “Greedy” Schiano, Mulcahy III, Slick McCormick, et. al.

On a last note, Inside Higher Education — read by university officials across the land — is now covering Schianogate, here. Rutgers consequently is taking its apparently rightful place among the other academic laggards of the land, schools that exist only to provide cover for factory sports programs.

Sigh. The stench of Schianogate still hangs heavy over the state.

Schianogate: The Stench Spreads

July 23, 2008

More newspapers are piling on the hidden payments and concealed clauses scandal and, as the coverage multiplies, so does the damage to Rutgers’ reputation, for both academics and ethics.

Not only is football coach Greg Schiano paid in excess of $2 million — on the basis of a lifetime losing record and in a time of draconian cutbacks in funding for education at Rutgers — but the school administrators who approved these deals (Slick McCormick and Mulcahy III) were apparently so ashamed of what they had done that they hid the terms from the public, the university Board of Governors, and the state legislature.

We of the Rutgers 1000 call upon the legislature to immediately open an investigation into Schianogate.  The implications of this scandal are threatening to destroy nearly 250-years of academic history at Rutgers, which is quickly becoming a laughingstock, known not for learning, but for giving into an obstreperous, puerile coach who is far better at beating Mulcahy III in contract talks than he has ever been in beating opponents on the field.

Rutgers needs to clear house and the broom has to get pushed by Trenton.

It is time to shine a bright light on Schianogate before there is no university left to save.

Another Secret Deal with Schiano

July 23, 2008

Today’s Ledger breaks yet another story, yet another secret deal with football coach Greg Schiano. Today’s instalment (and we expect there will be more) reveals that, contractually, Schiano can walk out on his Rutgers contract without penalties if Rutgers fails to complete the stadium expansion by 2009.

No wonder athletic director Mulcahy III has sounded ever more deranged in his strident insistence that the expansion will be done, on time, on budget, despite mounting evidence that neither is likely.

When asked why such key contractual details were hidden from the public, University president Slick McCormick, continuing to play out his lot in life as a Shakespearean fool, mumbled to the Ledger: “I’m not sure why we didn’t [make it public], but I regret it.”

Indeed there is regret all around in this caper. Lifetime losing record coach Schiano is vastly overpaid…Rutgers capitulated to his threat to leave and agreed to build a $100+ million monument to his ego, a stadium that is not needed and which few want…and of course we are treated to the prolonged groveling of Slick McCormick and Mulcahy III.

We also have to face up to the chilling fact that we have been lied to. Deceived. Cheated. By an administration that is utterly devoid of both ethics and commonsense.

All of which brings to mind Robert Goheen’s recipe for creating a great university: First fire the football coach.

Then we need to fire the athletic director.

Then the university president.

A current student’s cry of anger

July 23, 2008

Today’s email brought this angry post, written by a current student who had just learned about the hidden $250,000 payment to football coach Greg Schiano. This is a very angry document. You have been warned.

It says a lot about the McCormick administration that, less than a week after it raised tuition at Rutgers 8.5% and promised further cost-saving measures, including “budget cuts in administrative, instructional and support units; continued efficiency gains on all three campuses; and deferrals of expenditures” (to quote from the university press release), we learn of a secret payment of $250,000 to football coach Greg Schiano.

Indeed, perhaps we should consider what exactly this latest outrage says about the current administration at Rutgers: It says that for Richard McCormick, the most basic concept of the ethical duties of a university president is utterly foreign. McCormick now has an established track record of repeated deception and dishonesty stretching back at least as far as his disastrous tenure as President of the University of Washington. The litany of falsehoods practiced by this man, from his affair cover-ups to his changing and contradictory explanations for dumping six of Rutgers’ oldest sports in 2006 (to name just two), restate, time and again, one basic point. This man is morally unfit for the position he holds. That yet more sleaze and deception bubble to the surface with each passing season should surprise nobody.

It says that to President McCormick and the inept Board of Governors, the squalid condition of the campus, the broken buildings and third-rate learning facilities that characterize one of the most expensive state universities in the nation is of secondary concern. This point is so blatant that it seems almost silly to bother raising it. Yet, let us reminds ourselves that this is an administration that freezes faculty hires, fires long-serving staff, cuts courses, closes libraries early, crowds classrooms, ignores air-conditioning problems, endlessly defers maintenance, and ramps up tuition at the very same time that it makes back door payments to Greg Schiano and grants him unlimited use of a helicopter. And spends $250,000 on Hyatt accommodation for the football team for home games. And sends athletic staff on junkets to Texas. And makes Richard McCormick the highest-paid university president in America this last financial year. And splurges tens of thousands on rings and trinkets for NJ lawmakers “celebrating” some minor bowl win. And these are but a few examples.

It says that the reasons Richard McCormick and Robert Mulcahy gave for cutting six of Rutgers oldest sports in 2006, including crew and fencing, were utterly untrue. “Any time you’re put in a position of denying opportunities for students, it’s a heartbreaking situation” was how Mulcahy cried his crocodile tears to the New York Times. Yet, after refusing funds from some of Rutgers’ most distinguished alumni to save these sports, Mulcahy has continued to spend money like a drunk sailor at a whorehouse. As the free helicopter and the endless salary increases and the $250,000 shell payment to Schiano demonstrates, money was never the problem when it came to slashing sports. These six sports were cut to fund the unceasing demands of the selfish and self-serving head coach of football. This petty little man now builds his gaudy palace of riches in the ruins of what once was a great university, and student life at Rutgers suffers so that his demands be met.

And it says that to Richard McCormick, Robert Mulcahy III, the utterly incompetent William Howard Jr. and the remaining mediocrities that comprise the Board of Governors, and to the State of New Jersey itself, students at Rutgers exist as little more than cash cows to be squeezed so that the disgusting feeding frenzy at the teat of nepotism and graft may continue. There is no money to replace missing library books or install working air-conditioners. There is no money to keep water out of classrooms when it rains. But there is money for secret payments of $250,000 to an overpaid football coach. There is another $250,000 to give Corzine’s former deputy chief of staff a cushy job. There is $6 million to spend on secret plans and construction crews for the stadium expansion before the Board of Governors had even voted to approve the project. There is $500,000 to pay Richard McCormick a bonus for bringing this university to its knees. There is money all right. But not a penny more for academics!

If, then, we learn any lessons from this latest outrage, it is that there is little, if any limit to the rot and corruption among those charged with running this university. McCormick, Mulcahy, Schiano, LaRue and the rest won’t go freely and leave behind the gusher of easy money, flowing like milk from the coffers they themselves control. Rutgers desperately needs help, from alumni and students, from faculty and staff. It needs to be returned to its historic mission and purpose: to provide the best education it possibly can. Right now, under the current leadership, it is failing both its students and the citizens of New Jersey.

Mulcahy III: “I make no apologies.”

July 23, 2008

Gannett has the quote of the day: “I make no apologies. I’m proud of what we’ve done,” said Director of Athletics Robert Mulcahy, defending [Coach Greg Schiano’s] pay package worth in excess of $2 million.

Mulcahy III of course shrugged off the “disguised” $250,000 payment that was secretly funneled to an LLC owned by Schiano.

And as regards Schiano’s total $2+ million annual income from Rutgers football, Mulcahy insists, per Gannett, that Schiano’s compensation is “in the ‘low 20’s” among the 117 colleges and universities that play at the Division I level, according to Mulcahy.”

We assume Mulcahy III did not major in math because in 2007, Rutgers ranked 38th nationally per Sagarin — and pre-season polls peg Rutgers to do even worse in the upcoming season.  How that translates into deserving a pay packet “in the low 20s” is beyond us.

If Mulcahy III’s logic makes sense to you (it doesn’t to us), we commend to you Karl Rove’s long “I make no apologies” defense of the Bush Administration.  Click here for this voyage into Mulcahy III-style argument, thought, and reasoning.  At least they are soul brothers in offering “no apologies” for the indefensible.

Just what part of Mulcahy III’s utter lack of ethics — his unsuitability for a position of authority on any university campus — doesn’t the Rutgers BoG grasp?

Rutgers to its students: Drop Dead

July 21, 2008

The stench of dying hangs heavy in the July humidity as the reckless Piscataway Rutgers Stadium expansion project crashes against the twin poles of a New Jersey public that just isn’t interested and students who are being bled dry by an administration that is Ahab-like in its futile pursuit of “bigtime” sports. Memorable moments are so plentiful we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The one stark reality: the tide has pungently shifted and New Jersey’s media are piling on the boondoggle that is the Rutgers stadium expansion project.

Let’s start with a definite (we guess) laugh — Drew Sheneman’s cartoon that shows Rutgers students lifted ever higher by rising tuition and fees…”at least they can see the stadium construction from up here!”

Our personal favorite recent quotation belongs to athletic director Mulcahy III — the same Mulcahy III who purportedly was fired by then Governor Christie Whitman because of cost-overruns and mismanagement when he headed the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority — who growled, “‘Don’t believe all the critics,’ he said. ‘I know who my critics are.'” That Nixonian moment is in a meticulous Star Ledger story that shows the “savings” associated with cutting the six Olympic sports actually have turned into big losses for Rutgers. Mulcahy, apparently, cannot add or multiply, but — again — that should come as no surprise given his history.

Mulcahy clearly is losing it as the scrutiny of his monomaniacal Rutgers tenure uncovers ever more decisions that don’t add up. More Nixonian moments from Mulcahy III arise in this recent Jersey Journal piece where, in reaction to skepticism about his stadium expansion plans, he snarled: “Let me put it this way, I am going to do this thing for $102 million,” Mulcahy said. “I’m going to have seats in the south end zone and I am going to have the scoreboard and I am going to have the club done.”

The reality is that Mulcahy III doesn’t have the money in hand for the expansion — and as the price-tag has rocketed up over $125 million he is falling ever shorter. Our bet is that soon an announcement will be made that the project is “delayed.” That is why Mulcahy III’s Crankiness Factor is soaring.

You can see the lips turning white, the sweat popping on the forehead as this 70 year-old bureaucrat whose life has been spent swilling at Trenton’s trough sees his capstone project blowing up in his face. Pretty soon we expect him to blurt out that he is retiring and we won’t have Bob Mulcahy to kick around anymore! We would feel pity for him if it weren’t the university’s academics and students that are picking up the pieces.

Which brings us to Rutgers’ suffering students. Multiple stories now are detailing that the legendary “RU Screw” is intensifying as the administration reaches deeper into the pockets of students, in part to defray the ever greater expenditures on athletics. The Daily Record reports on the impacts of higher tuition and fees here.

It gets worse: as the state cuts its support, the quality of a Rutgers education sinks ever lower. Rutgers students are paying more for much less, it’s that brutal. Gannet reports: “Every area of the university is impacted,” said Nancy Winterbauer, vice president for university budgeting at Rutgers. She said Rutgers also faces cuts in services, staff and course offerings.

Meantime, PARADE Magazine weighs in with a report, Are College Coaches Over-Paid? At $1.8 million — making him the state’s highest paid public employee, Greg Schiano — the coach with a lifetime losing record — surely is the poster child for an over-paid coach. Think about how many real teachers could be hired were Schiano sent packing — that’s around 18 full professors in, say, English or History. The Parade story includes this: “Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, says, ‘Some colleges seem more focused on beer and spectacle than on teaching and learning.'” Sound familiar?

Parade adds this: “a recent report by the NCAA suggests that college sports are, in fact, money-losing propositions. Among the 119 schools with top Division I football teams, only 19 had athletic departments that generated a profit in 2006.” Rutgers of course is not among the profitable 19. It loses money on athletics, year in, year out, and that is money that is creamed off the top of the resources available for academics. Every dime spent on athletics is money not spent on education. It really is that stark.

Add it up: there is a gusher of money for football, less and less for academics. The message has become unmistakable. Rutgers is off course, it is failing the state’s taxpayers, its businesses, and — above all — its students. But the worse it gets, the more optimistic we are. And that is because of the stench over Piscataway. As the recent flood of newspaper coverage shows: recognition is mounting that Rutgers needs new dorms, new classroom buildings, new labs. It does not need a $100+ million stadium expansion that very, very few want and that will do nothing to improve the quality of life for 99.9% of students.

And pretty much that is what Professor Dowling is saying in this recent Packet newspaper profile. Read that story and leave this blog cheered. The end is coming, for Mulcahy III, for the reckless stadium expansion, for the foolish push into bigtime sports.

Is Greg Schiano “batsh*t insane?”

June 28, 2008

A poster to to the Scout message board says Schiano definitely is insane — because the Rutgers football coach apparently tells potential recruits that he has some kind of pipeline to God.  As a recent recruit was reported to say: “it was all about Coach Schiano. When he started talking about how his visions for his program come from God that really set him apart…and I knew I wanted to be there with him as my leader.”

There is no doubt that Schiano is a self-professed “born-again” Christian.  Last May he appeared at a born-again concert and, he suggested, that when his play-calling produces wins, God’s hand is on the rudder.

Some anti-Schiano posters, meantime, say his religiosity is all bunkum, just another con used to hook unsophisticated high schoolers into joining the second-rate Rutgers program.

Rabid Rivals boosters take a different position which boils down to a pragmatic, who cares, just give us the commits.

All this raises profound questions.

* Does coach Schiano profess that he talks to God?

* If he says that, is this appropriate for an employee of Rutgers, the State University?

* If he says that, is it grounds for a psychiatric examination?

* If he says that and is insincere,  what does that say about the Rutgers program?