SELENA ROBERTSThe New York TimesPublished: October 1, 2006
True, it was a reputed cupcake course. But as an English major at Rutgers University, the honors student Robert Andersen couldn’t just curl up with Chaucer or Twain. The guy needed a science credit.
It was in a geology course called Dinosaurs where Andersen discovered the extinction of the Rutgers student athlete.
Outside the classroom door, Andersen witnessed paid attendance takers, who functioned as nannies, as they waited patiently for athletes, usually football players, to walk up and utter the magic password, “I’m here.”
Check, the player went to class. Check, the coach is happy. Check, the program has integrity.“It’s just a sham,” Andersen, a senior, said Friday. “Are you truly a student athlete if there is someone who has to make sure you go to class?”
The definition gets narrower by the budget cut. At a university besieged by a fiscal crisis — with shortened library hours, staff reductions and canceled classes — Rutgers is eliminating six sports, including crew, fencing and swimming, to save $1.2 million. Nearly equal to the salary of the football coach, Greg Schiano.
“One of the saddest parts,” said Norman Levitt, a math professor, “is that some of the people getting hurt the most are the student athletes — and I’m talking about the student who gets up at 3 a.m. to row.”
“Rutgers,” he added, “is turning into a standard-issue football factory.”
It’s industrial athletics. All around the country, the quaint notion of a student athlete has been stored in a hope chest amid a fool’s-gold pursuit of big-time football.
Officials are lining up to sell their souls to join the arms race of Division I-A, right down to the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the founder of Liberty University. As Forbes recently reported, the Liberty student handbook warns of “witchcraft, séances or other satanic or demonic activity.” (And yet the football program plans to leap to I-A from Division I-AA, anyway.)
Big football is a faith-based proposition. Athletic directors go rah-rah when they talk of their revenue-producing team as if to cleverly conflate it with profit-making. They are not the same.Almost all Division I-A football programs bleed money in school colors. In the fuzzy math of college accounting, it is difficult to tell the depths of the red because many football teams put, say, laundry, outside the athletic budget ledger.
Whatever the exact total, the Scarlet Knights lost at least $3 million on football last year. As officials will say, this is the price for winning. For the first time since 1976, Rutgers is in the top 25, a ranking bound to surge after the team’s tense victory Friday night against the South Florida Bulls — a football team since 1997. For South Florida, a little-known commuter college, football was born as a branding tool.
“I would rather say it’s a rallying point, not a branding tool, for us,” Robert E. Mulcahy III, the Rutgers athletic director, said by telephone Thursday. “We’re a research university that stands on its own as an academic institution.”
Football has put that identity at risk. Campus computer labs shut down early to conserve money, but the football machine churns on with game films rolling across what has been described as a 42-inch plasma television in the locker room.
“We have a television in the locker room,” Mulcahy said. “I can’t tell you what it is. I don’t know.”
Rutgers’s recruiting money for academically distinguished students with stellar SAT’s has been slashed, but the football budget will increase next year along with Schiano’s salary. “It’s demoralizing to the faculty,” Levitt said.
It’s not as if the bandwagon has square wheels at Rutgers. It’s not as if Rutgers is a campus full of football curmudgeons.
“When Rutgers was horrible at football, students tailgated but never went into the game,” Andersen said. “Now they tailgate, but a larger majority of kids actually go into the game.“They’re doing well, but it’s like, at what expense?”
The cost is to Rutgers’s intellectual capital. How can the university square its football excess with a fiscal demand for academic austerity? Just what kind of student is wooed by the siren song of a supersize football program? As Andersen said, it appears the university is in search of “kids who want to paint their faces and scream and yell at football games.”
There is another aspect to Rutgers’s football strategy: provide rich boosters with a business perk and an incentive to give. Ply them with victories, with luxury amenities for clients, a winner’s identity for themselves, and watch the money roll in. Last year, Mulcahy said, the Scarlet R Club, the fund-raising arm of the athletic program, collected a record $5.8 million in donations.
The amount doesn’t touch the $20 million-plus raised by organizations like the Gator Boosters from Florida. But even at universities with deep-pocketed donors, the money doesn’t cover the football debts.
This is a sucker’s game. The sport is a money pit and, often, a magnet for corruption. As seen throughout college football, booster influence creates conflicts and opens the way for chicanery.As it traverses this slippery slope, Rutgers seems oblivious to cautionary tales.
So football expands. Let the fencers fall on the sword with the rest of Rutgers.
“Everybody has to decide what’s important,” Mulcahy said. “Just because we have budgetary concerns doesn’t mean we have to stop having a vision for the future.”
Mulcahy is doing his job. But the vision is just as much of an illusion as the attendance by some football players in a certain cupcake class.
“Halfway through, a few at a time, they’d walk out the back,” Andersen said.
At Rutgers, the disappearance of the authentic student athlete is embodied by a course called Dinosaurs — a study in extinction.
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 2 October 2006 20:42 (thirteen years ago) link
As a current sophomore... that's pretty OTM. I still can't believe they cut men's crew. Did you know anyone on Crew? They're seriously really fucking hardcore (they put up a billboard at the train station on Somerset in protest).
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Monday, 2 October 2006 21:09 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 2 October 2006 21:11 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 2 October 2006 21:14 (thirteen years ago) link
the RU screw never dies, it just evolves!
― Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 2 October 2006 21:31 (thirteen years ago) link
Remember 'up stream red team'Jeff bodenmannPosted: 9/29/06While I am excited over the recent success of Rutgers University football, I am disgusted by the recent philosophy of the current athletic director and the direction of my Alma Mater.
Blaming the recent budget cut, Athletic Director Robert E. Mulcahy III finally gained approval for his plan to eliminate six "lesser" sports programs in order to focus on football and basketball. It's a plan he submitted twice before and was denied by the Board of Governors.
Eliminating sports like fencing and swimming saves a trivial amount of money, while the budget for the football program was increased more than $1 million. The idea these cuts were unavoidable for budget reasons is an insult to the student athletes effected and the University overall.
It would be criminal to let Rutgers sports follow the path of the universities of Miami or Colorado, where a few paid professionals entertain the students and alumni. Successful big-time sports is not at odds with academic excellence or a broad athletic offering for the student body. Mulcahy need only look to Penn State, Notre Dame and Stanford for examples of schools managing its priorities well.
RU athletics must serve and focus on the student athlete. The six programs slated for elimination have the highest GPA's of all Rutgers teams, yet are viewed by Mulcahy as low priority and expendable. Clearly the concept of student athlete holds no sway with him. Apparently neither does tradition. Among the teams slated for elimination is Men's Crew. Someone should remind Mulcahy that the RU cheer says "up steam red team" - which now no one will know what that quaint outdated notion means.
Jeff Bodenmann is a Rutgers College alumnus.
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 2 October 2006 21:45 (thirteen years ago) link
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 16:57 (thirteen years ago) link
Cooper is closed as well? Didn't Brower Commons burn down or something? At this rate, Tillett Hall on Livingston will be the only place to hoard (uh, eat) bagels.
― mike a (mike a), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 18:34 (thirteen years ago) link
tillett = KILL-IT TILLETT or TOILET. brower commons = BOWEL COMMONS (i got a nice case of food poisoning there 2d week freshman year).
― Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 19:03 (thirteen years ago) link
― Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 19:05 (thirteen years ago) link
― mike a (mike a), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 19:27 (thirteen years ago) link
Brower always has really long lines and is always noisy; Tillett's food is just as mediocre but the setting's a lot nicer, and there's rarely crowds. Plus Tillett is the only one with styrofoam cups anymore.
So who here did WRSU?
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 19:56 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 20:10 (thirteen years ago) link
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 20:11 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 21:18 (thirteen years ago) link
― Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 3 October 2006 21:30 (thirteen years ago) link
― Jay Vee's Return (Manon_69), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 05:12 (thirteen years ago) link
I agree that Cooper was considered the best of the dining halls.
― mike a (mike a), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 17:00 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 17:04 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 17:05 (thirteen years ago) link
Busch dining hall was renovated in 2000, and Nielsen I think was renovated within the past 2 or 3 years. IB is like my favorite part of the Targum, too.
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 18:37 (thirteen years ago) link
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Monday, 30 October 2006 07:42 (thirteen years ago) link
good luck with the cardinals.
― gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Monday, 30 October 2006 07:59 (thirteen years ago) link
OMG A-ron you shoulda seen College Ave last night. It was like one massive fuckin riot. WE'RE 9 AND FUCKIN 0!!!
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Friday, 10 November 2006 16:24 (thirteen years ago) link
― hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 10 November 2006 16:57 (thirteen years ago) link
They were amused, to say the least.
My wife then said "But, you NEVER watch Rutgers football."
"I didn't have any football to watch prior to now. RU RAH RAH!!!"
I would have LOVED to have been on campus last night. Were the bars absolutely crazy or what?
― B.L.A.M. (Big Loud Mountain Ape), Friday, 10 November 2006 17:13 (thirteen years ago) link
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Friday, 10 November 2006 18:03 (thirteen years ago) link
Good to hear that RU still knows how to party. Enjoy it - many of us never had the chance to enjoy a good sports season at RU. And I mean that in the happiest, friendliest, least condescending manner I possibly can.
R! U! R! U!
― B.L.A.M. (Big Loud Mountain Ape), Friday, 10 November 2006 18:25 (thirteen years ago) link
― Eisbär (llamasfur), Friday, 10 November 2006 20:14 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Sunday, 12 November 2006 18:51 (thirteen years ago) link
― less-than three's Christiane F. (drowned in milk), Sunday, 12 November 2006 20:39 (thirteen years ago) link
It's tough to remember addresses for basement shows - there was definitely at least one house on Hamilton, at least one on Louis, and at least one on Somerset - but it never seemed to be the same location for too long due to cops. I actually got to see some pretty decent touring bands in basements such as Q and not U and Edie Sedgwick -- in fact that might have even been the same show. I don't think any of the Rutgers bands playing basements at the time made it big, but I think Thursday might have been contemporaries of mine (I didn't know them.) Oh yeah, we also had a few never-quite-went-anywheres like Val Emmich, Little T. and One Track Mike, and Ben Jelen (really nice guy, btw!), but they weren't really the basement show types (except maybe Little T.)
I played a few of those too, and we even went back for one last year with the recently defunct Sunshine Will. Did you ever get to see them? They were really quite good!
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Sunday, 12 November 2006 20:55 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Sunday, 12 November 2006 21:06 (thirteen years ago) link
and never underestimate the omnipresent incompetence of the R.U. Screw. seriously, R.U. has to have one of the most inept and downright malevolent bureaucratic regimes this side of the brezhnev-era USSR. folks that are so engrossed in their own petty turf wars and personal fiefdoms that the whole university system ends up suffering. it'why bushco's incompetence hasn't really shocked me that much -- dealing with R.U. administrative slugs was like a training camp for that kinda shit!
― Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 13 November 2006 05:16 (thirteen years ago) link
i think that machine is a little after my time. and i also think that the basement-show scene-thing is after my time, too -- and if it wasn't, it may have been going on when i was actually kinda serious about academics and ergo i was oblivious to it all.
― Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 13 November 2006 05:20 (thirteen years ago) link
Graphic showing Rutgers football spending v. athletic and academic cuts:
RU tuition doubles over ten years:
Rutgers's bowl game appearance did not even pay for itself:
It's not like I think football is solely to blame for all this, but I think it says something about the screwed up priorities of the school and the state legislature that football is the one thing that must never take cuts.
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 13 November 2006 14:38 (thirteen years ago) link
To be totally honest, I didn't make it out to many basement shows - I was in a (now defunct) fraternity, and, more importantly, was dating a girl for two years who went to Cornell. I also changed my major halfway through, so I actually didn't go out very much my senior year.
Do you have any emailable files of current stuff being played there? I would love to hear some.
― B.L.A.M. (Big Loud Mountain Ape), Monday, 13 November 2006 14:54 (thirteen years ago) link
Well yeah, I guess anything that lifts the RU malaise can't be ALL bad, but I think you get an exaggerated sense of how important it is to most people when there are screaming fans running down College Ave.
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:25 (thirteen years ago) link
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:27 (thirteen years ago) link
― B.L.A.M. (Big Loud Mountain Ape), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:28 (thirteen years ago) link
As far as Rutgers bands, I like these guys (but they just broke up):
This band went to Rutgers but claims they're "from Brooklyn":
This band is also really good, and they mostly went to Rutgers but live in Philly now:
― A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:33 (thirteen years ago) link
This is depressing:
Rutgers to add 12,000 seats,luxury boxes to stadium
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By PATRICIA ALEX
Rutgers University is drawing plans for a $116 million expansion of its football stadium, adding luxury boxes and more than 12,000 seats, according to information obtained by The Record.
The university, still reeling from a budget crisis last year that forced cuts in staff and courses, has already committed almost $1 million for design work.
Plans call for an initial grant of $30 million from the state. Though it involves public money, the athletic department has kept the details of the expansion under wraps.
The improvements would be complete in time for the 2009 season, documents say, and are meant to capitalize on the team's turnaround over the past two seasons, engineered by coach Greg Schiano. The Scarlet Knights compiled an impressive 11-2 record last season.
The 2007 season begins at home against Buffalo on Aug. 30, and tickets for home games will be harder to come by than in the past. Nearly 6,000 people are on a season ticket waiting list, said Robert Mulcahy III, head of the athletic department. The department is taking the unusual step of offering single-game tickets first to those on the waiting list for season tickets.
"Based on the response to tickets, we realize there is a need and we have to find a way to address that," said Mulcahy. He said expansion proposals are still in their infancy and must be brought before the board of governors and other university groups before they are discussed publicly.
But documents acquired by The Record show plans well under way and, according to a source, a construction manager and other personnel have already been identified.
The university signed a contract in April agreeing to pay HOK Sports up to $970,000 for design work for the expansion. The Record received a copy of the contract under the state's Open Public Records Act. Rutgers denied requests for details and cost estimates, and Mulcahy declined to discuss specifics, saying it was too early in the process.
But an estimate prepared by Mulcahy's department and obtained by The Record shows a total project cost of $116 million. The public university would sell bonds to raise $86 million and obtain a $30 million state grant under the plan.
Governor Corzine has been advised of the expansion plans, said his spokesman, Brendan Gilfillan. "We're reviewing them," he said. "No decisions have been made."
University President Richard McCormick has deferred comment on the stadium to Mulcahy.
In the plan under discussion, stadium suites, loge boxes and club seating would come first, followed by the addition of 12,000 permanent seats that would enclose the one now-open end zone. Rutgers last year set up temporary seating there.
Design of a new practice facility is also part of the HOK contract. Schiano said he wasn't at liberty to say what the new facility might include, but that it was the subject of discussions.
The stadium expansion, he said, is the immediate need. "I think everyone realizes it all makes sense," Schiano said. "We're going to grow at a rate that allows us to keep growing consistently."
Since he came on board in 2000, Schiano has pushed for new facilities as part of Rutgers' bid to become a Division I powerhouse. At his behest, the school recently spent $12.5 million to build a new training facility for the team at the Hale Center. And Schiano, who will make more than a million dollars this year, has made it clear he wants more.
"There's a lot of things facility-wise that we have long-term plans for. Five-, 10-, 15-year plans," he said. "Right now our main focus is the stadium."
Some urge caution, noting that a winning team is a relatively recent phenomenon in the long history of Rutgers football and that the state's finances are tight.
State funding to higher education has lagged while tuition has continued to climb. It now costs $20,000 to live and study at Rutgers' flagship campus in New Brunswick/Piscataway.
This year, Mulcahy axed six Olympic sports -- including men's tennis, crew and swimming -- in what he said was an effort to streamline his department. The annual budgets of those teams was less than $1 million. Meanwhile, football spending has increased despite the fact that the program has needed as much as $3 million in university support to cover its deficits.
"It just seems to a lot of us at Rutgers University that we're sacrificing other sports for football," said Edward Fu, a senior. "It concerns me."
Momentum appears to be building for the expansion -- whetted in part by large billboards on the New Jersey Turnpike urging fans to sign up for the season ticket waiting list. Proponents of stadium expansion argue that the investment will allow the team to generate more profits. Rutgers estimates the new seating and parking could generate nearly $6.7 million in revenue by the 2010 season and increase thereafter.
Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway now seats fewer than 42,000. Other Top 25 teams play in much bigger venues. According to NCAA statistics, 45 Division I teams play in stadiums with capacities of at least 60,000.
Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, D-Middlesex, had been critical of the decision to cut the Olympic sports. Nonetheless he said he thought public spending on the stadium would be a good investment in the future. He noted that large donors often are drawn by a successful football program.
"We all know the positive effect Rutgers football has had on our state, our image and the university in particular," he said.
Staff Writer Aditi Kinkhabwala contributed to this article. E-mail: a✧✧✧@northjer✧✧✧.c✧✧
― Hurting 2, Wednesday, 22 August 2007 21:53 (twelve years ago) link
"positive effect Rutgers Football has had on... the university in particular" = more dumb yahoos take the bus tour cuz they got Scarlett Fever yo.
― Hurting 2, Wednesday, 22 August 2007 21:54 (twelve years ago) link
Once again, Rutgers ends up being run by complete idiots.
― B.L.A.M., Wednesday, 22 August 2007 22:45 (twelve years ago) link
Seriously. Why should University of Michigan, University of Texas, and University of Virginia have better reps than Rutgers? Rutgers is the closest large public university to New York city, its one of, if not the most diverse schools in the country, and its one of the oldest in the country (1763!!).
Its b/c we make stupid, stupid decisions like this. 30 million? Do you know how many top-notch kids we could have lured there with that money as scholarships? Or how many top-notch profs we could have lured there with that money as salaries for them?
But NO. Luxury boxes. Fuck that.
― B.L.A.M., Wednesday, 22 August 2007 23:01 (twelve years ago) link
seriously - you want to raise the profile of the school, you spend that money making sure Rutgers scoops up any top students that don't make the ivies, recruit them like THEY were football players, and put some resources into grooming a few for Rhodes scholarships.
― Hurting 2, Wednesday, 22 August 2007 23:06 (twelve years ago) link
But of course that's not going to make the cover of the Daily News and light up the Empire State Building red, and that's what really counts, right?!
It's fucking painful, really. But funny.
― Tyrone Quattlebaum (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 21 October 2008 19:28 (eleven years ago) link