Yes I am a Rutgers alumni - both The Rutgers School of Engineering and The Graduate School of Management. I haven't been a supporter of the football team (but basketball) since a few years back when Rutgers got crushed at home on a hot September night by Miami like 50-3. I haven't had season tickets and certainly not this year when my kids have soccer on Saturdays. Anyway, of course I jumped back on the bandwagon and even though they lost last night to Cincinnati I'm still excited. The football team is clearly building momentum and now I get to have conversations with football fans from USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and etc. So what has me so down....this article found on the front page of yesterday's Star Ledger called For these Rutgers fans football boom's a bust.
Basically what the article says is that Rutgers English Professor William Dowling and a small core of critics think that Rutgers should reduce the size and influence of sports programs. Here's a quote from the english professor "The football buildup sends a symbolic message," Dowling said. "What this tells the state and students is that the only thing Rutgers cares about is having a semi-professional football franchise and attracting academically substandard students who don't like being in school but do like having a football team to cheer for."
What I really don't like about this article is that it doesn't make sense to me. If these so called professors want the school to save money or spend it all on education than why stop at what they previously called for was downsizing the sports teams to Division 1-AA? If you guys are soooo intelligent than why stop there? Why don't you call for an elimination of ALL SPORTS programs and all extra activities. How about band, chess, and all other non-educational programs? And while you are at it, why don't you eliminate courses like (if they haven't already done so), Apple Judging, Detective Fiction, The Comic, Science Fiction, and all blow-off courses? Than once you do that, why stop at the collegiate level and then go after High School sports in the state? That's the only argument that makes logical sense, professor.
Sure the football team will cost Rutgers (or as my friend Jim said the state of NJ since we are a state school) $13 million before those costs are offset by ticket sales, bowl game, etc. However, as Jim pointed out that some of that is our tax money, but don't you think the merchants in New Brunswick, Piscataway, and surrounding towns and cities like the resurgence? I'm sure they do and that helps our economy, especially in those cities, right? Hey Professor Dowling, why don't you see if an economics professor can model that?
Once you make the decision to have a sports team you need to try and win. I'm not saying at all costs like some other schools, but at least in a reasonable fashion. That's what I see happening at Rutgers right now and it is a lot to be proud of. This is good for the school, good for the towns, and good for the alumni who finally might start making donations to the school and become more active. College is about a lot of things including sports and getting ready for the real world. And, the real world loves competition and sports...all I'm writing is, once you make the decision to have college sports lets try and win for once, please?
BTW - check out the data in the continue reading section. All the football hype is delivering more traffic and buzz to Rutgers....