Football is too important.
Rutgers University, the largest school in the New Jersey state run higher education system, has tried to be something the university isn’t. A national collegiate football power. The school is more of an athletic laughing stock with troubles surrounding the men’s basketball program and a losing record in football. Rutgers decided to join the Big Ten in the goal of becoming a major player on the national football stage and invested millions upon millions of dollars in hiring the right coach, building the right facilities and not having the money to do so. In theory joining the Big Ten would put Rutgers on the path leading the school to football prominence. The Big Ten added Rutgers because the school has a footprint in America’s biggest market, New York City, and it would be good for Big Ten television and marketing purposes.
Rutgers hired an out of work football coach to lead the program last week, Greg Schiano. The school handed out an eight-year, 32-million-dollar contract to Schiano with the promise that Schiano’s salary would come from the athletic department, a program that has been a perennial money loser. Schiano, an unemployed football coach, was the guy for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Schiano was lobbied by Murphy who knows how important Rutgers football is to state residents. Actually, Rutgers football is not all that important. But Murphy justified hiring Schiano muttering something about Rutgers needs to invest in academics and sports. Murphy said you need to spend money if you are a member of the Big Ten. There is also the thought, have a good football team, more students will be interested in attending the school and apply creating a bigger student application pool. The school gets better students in theory. Schiano has a big contract, Murphy is pleased, Rutgers faculty is not. They want to see more money in academics with less money going to sports.