Rutgers Sells Its Soul To Football

This is the kind of post that gets no reaction from anyone.  I’d be better off writing three paragraphs about Doug Flynn.   However, this is the kind of thing I like sharing because it makes my blood boil.

The Star-Ledger has a blistering front page report on Rutgers Football today.   Below are some excerpts.


In the past five years, as Rutgers hiked tuition, eliminated six other varsity sports and canceled classes to cut costs, the university more than doubled annual spending on football, from $7.5 million to $15.6 million. Rutgers now puts more into its football program than any school in the Big East Conference, including Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which have won national titles.

Sen. Shirley Turner, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, which drafts policy affecting New Jersey public colleges, said she worries that the school is putting too much emphasis on the sport.

“I know that we’re all great fans of the Scarlet Knights football team,” said Turner (D-Mercer). “But I’m concerned we may be losing sight of our real mission here at our state university, which is to provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost.”

The Mets Police observe that the priority seems to be to have a Division I football program.   I guess that’s fun if you get to enjoy the perks like the coach’s salary or housing.   Maybe it’s fun to sit in the skybox.   As far as this area loving Rutgers football – let’s rank the teams until we get to them.

Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Rangers.   No-brainers.   Nets. Islanders & Devils probably.  St. John’s basketball.   Maybe Rutgers is the 11th most popular thing around here – and that’s in a year where they are undefeated into November, and only because they pay good money to have their games on the radio which helps create perception (lot’s of teams do that).

Of all the bills Rutgers incurred to fund its football program, the biggest has yet to land: the $102 million expansion plan for the school’s stadium in Piscataway.

Newly obtained documents show the school rushed into the project with no marketing study and no certainty where it would get the money to build the structure. Driving the decision, the documents show, was concern that the only way to keep Schiano was to give him a bigger place to play.

They were asked that month to intervene in an effort to convince Schiano to stay. In an interview, Codey recalled meeting with the coach at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield. He said the talk centered around whether the state would get behind Schiano’s vision for the stadium. Codey said ultimately both he and the governor committed state funding for the project.

“It was the right thing to do,” Codey said.

The Mets Police observe that the existing Rutgers stadium was fine.   This expansion was based upon the madness that Rutgers was suddenly a national powerhouse, something that was quickly exposed on a Thursday night on ESPN a few years back.

There’s also a brand new PSL funded stadium being built not too far to the north.  I’m told that’s a state of the art football stadium, and that the state is chipping in to build roads.   It sits there empty on Saturday.   Why couldn’t Rutgers just play there?   It probably has something to do with the university wanting to make sure students can go to the games, clearly the students are the topmost priority in all this.   You can tell that by the way they’ve cut other varsity sports and some classes.

A buyout clause guaranteeing the stadium expansion was subsequently incorporated in an addendum to Schiano’s contract, documents show, over the objections of the university’s chief financial officer.

It’s good that Rutgers is committed to Schiano.  It’s not like he’d take an interview with another school if he had the chance…..oh say in 2007 and Michigan.   NJ commits $102 million to him, but he’s on job interviews.

His criticism was never brought to the attention of the board of governors and on Feb. 19, 2007, Mulcahy signed the agreement and gave it to Schiano to sign. Until The Star-Ledger began asking questions about the side letter in July, no one knew that Schiano kept the document, but never actually signed it. Even after McCormick publicly confirmed the agreement, Mulcahy and Schiano were disputing it existed.

Those are just a few paragraphs from a great piece.   The original is quite long but a great read if you have any interest in runaway athletic programs.   

The Mets Are 7 Players From Contending

I was thinking about the 2009 Mets and here’s what we know:

1B Delgado
SS OverReyes
3B Wright
CF Beltran
P  Santana
P  Maine

A nice enough “core” (new cool baseball term that showed up in 2008, brought to you by the people that invented “walk-off”).

So all Omar has to do is go out and get someone to play C, 2B, LF, RF, 3/5 of the starting rotation and a closer.   The Mets are only seven players away from contending!

Child Sports Insanity

When Donna Campiglia learned recently that a genetic test might be able to determine which sports suit the talents of her 2 ½-year-old son, Noah, she instantly said, Where can I get it and how much does it cost?

Isn’t that insane?   Why can’t we let kids be kids.  Your kid is either good or bad at sports.  Why do you need to know at 2 years old?

(Company I refuse to name) is playing into the obsessions of parents by offering a $149 test that aims to predict a child’s natural athletic strengths. The process is simple. Swab inside the child’s cheek and along the gums to collect DNA and return it to a lab for analysis of ACTN3, one gene among more than 20,000 in the human genome.

Read more:

Published: November 30, 2008

A genetics company is offering a $149 test that aims to predict a child’s natural athletic strengths.

ESPN To Televise 1958 Giants Before They Were Evil PSL Sellers

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “Greatest Game Ever Played” ESPN will show the 1958 NFL Championship Game on Saturday December 13th at 9pm. In color!

I won’t spoil it for those of you who don’t know who won.

What’s cool is that this will show the Giants before they sold their soul and started charging their long term fans $20,000 for the right to buy tickets.

I know one family who has had tickets since way back when.   Although the father has passed on, the son wrote this Open Letter To The Mara & Tisch Families.  You may even see the dad in the stands that day rooting on his team.   Check it out, should be a good show.

Since the Mets Police blog is getting more RSS pickup then when this first ran, below is the original Open Letter post.

A long time Giants season ticket holder sent this to me.

An open letter to the Mara & Tisch Families

My family have been season ticket holders for over 40 years. I grew up reading all the old programs my dad saved for me and knew about almost every player from Frank Gifford and Sam Huff down to Les Shy and Eldridge Small.

First game I went to was actually in 1975 in Shea, vs. the Cardinals, the year before Giants stadium opened. I would say at least since 1989, I have rarely missed a game other than for Weddings (one of them my own!) or some other engagement that kept me out of time. During that time, I have been there for the team for the good days and the bad days. Whether it was Phil Simms or Dave Brown, QBing. I was there.

Despite this, you now add insult to injury.

First: The insult. Actually several insults. Even after the years my father was a season ticket holder, particularly through the awful late 60s and most of the 70s, we were denied seats to Superbowl 21. At the time we understood. There was a lottery and you can only allot a few since there was only enough space for fans of both teams.

But then Superbowl 25 came along. Same thing. Denied. Again somewhat understandable. It happens.

Then Superbowl 35. Again. Okay maybe I am glad I missed going to that one.

Now Superbowl 45 comes along. Nothing again!!! By this time all of the people who must have won the lottery should have been out of it to give those a chance who didn’t go. But no, that’s not the only case. Your organization feels fit to allot tickets to so-called “VIP”s, celebrities and all sorts of other corporate bigwigs who never had any loyalty to your organization during its up and down period.

And now the injury.

Somewhere around $40K I hear for “personal seat licenses” For what? I already own my seat. Yes, I know what you are going to say “everyone does it now”

But I thought the Mara/Tisch families were the “class” of the league? You woudn’t do anything underhanded to your loyal fans like that, many of us who were not entitled to see at least one of the four superbowls?

And don’t tell me its money. From what I know the Mara and Tisch families combined are pretty damn wealthy through your various holdings. I find it hard to believe you really need to scrape up the dough to build this stadium (which you will find the majority of fans dont find necessary anyway. Again, just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t make it right). No one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to do this.

Ive always disliked front-runner fans. How about front-runner owners who only care about their fans when it is convenient to them? How about returning the loyalty to us that we have given to you for so long?

And where is the league office on this? The same league that comes down so hard on players using banned substances or exhibiting bad behavior, why not come down on the owners who commit a different form of bad behavior that is detrimental to the reason the league is in existence — the fans?

Ever since I heard the news of this PSL scam (which is what it is) I have been in somewhat in a state of denial. Many of us have been taking this sort of abuse for years on being rejected for the big game, but this is the ultimate insult.

It would be a shame to give up these tickets after so many enjoyable Fall & Winter Sundays (well maybe not all) over most of my 40 years on this earth.

To the Mara and Tisch families, you are supposed to be above the likes of the Jerry Joneses and Al Davises of the league. Now prove it.

Sincerely yours,

Alex Swingle
New York City

And since I like looking out for the little guy – here’s a link to a blog that asks if retired players are being screwed by not being paid for the ESPN cast.

Topps Salutes The Troops (Link)

Published: November 30, 2008
Among the 440 cards that make up this year’s Topps N.F.L. card set are 11 Armed Forces Fans of the Game nominated by their home teams.

This year’s Topps N.F.L. card set includes two Tomlinsons: LaDainian, a running back with the San Diego Chargers; and Wyat, a staff sergeant based at the United States Army Recruiting Battalion in Kansas City, Mo.

“We wanted to pay tribute to our soldiers in some fashion,” said Clay Luraschi, the director of product development for Topps. “We went to the N.F.L. and they were totally on board with it, and immediately began asking teams to nominate soldiers from their respective cities.”

The other Topps trading card troops are Capt. John C. Cochrane Jr. of the Navy (nominated by the Jets); Col. Marc Hendler, New York Army National Guard (Giants); Lance Cpl. James A. Lenihan, Marine Corps Reserve (Cincinnati); Specialist Mark M. Middlebrook, Army (Jacksonville); Maj. Sean Ryan, Army (Denver); Sgt. Philip LaBonte, Michigan Army National Guard (Detroit); Cpl. Ryan M. Lenser, Marines (Green Bay); Senior Airman Gabriel Bird, Louisiana Air National Guard (New Orleans); Sgt. Christopher Ames, Marines (Arizona); and Sgt. Traci Williams, Army Reserve (Seattle).

Williams is the only woman in the group and the first Topps has featured on a professional football card.

Very cool, and much better with which to pad a set than a checklist. 

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