Rutgers’ management chose the run-up to Super Bowl weekend to release a damning report that reveals how much money the university is losing on Athletics. “Perhaps they were hoping we would not notice that their plan robs from our educational mission, gouges our students and saddles them with greater debt to subsidize a mismanaged Athletics program,” said Deepa Kumar, President of the faculty and grad union, Rutgers AAUP-AFT. “We need to restore the balance, and re-prioritize the academic mission.”
The recently released College Sports Solutions (CSS) report (https://scarletknights.com/documents/2019/1/31/CSS_Rutgers_Final_Report.pdf) on Rutgers Athletics specifies that more than a third (34%) of Rutgers’ athletics “revenue” ($33 million) comes from direct institutional support and student fees. Rutgers’ President Barchi’s focus on athletics is costing Rutgers students ten to 15 times more in fees than their peers across the country.
Professor of Economics Mark Killingsworth, who has studied this subject in detail, says, “The report provides an insular narrative from high-level management calling for spending more money on a failed program offering the weak premise that they could start winning, gain popular support and maybe break even in nearly another decade.”
Specifically, the report blames the “university’s budget and facility deficit” for “lack of competitive success.” The program is already borrowing more money against future projected revenues and the rationale of blaming the facilities for the program’s shortfalls is accompanied by a call for even greater expenditures.
“The CSS report recommends even more spending, and even more raids on student fees and the academic budget,” said Professor Killingsworth.
“If President Barchi has a shred of integrity left, he will stand up for the academic mission of the university, and stop this move to take even more money from students and academic programs,” said Killingsworth. “But does he have the guts to do this?”
The union is calling for Rutgers to stop saddling students with greater debt for extra-curriculars while robbing Rutgers’ academic mission. “These resources would be better spent on teaching and research,” Kumar said.
Kumar said that Rutgers is first in underpaid adjunct part-time faculty among Big Ten peers, second to last among full-time faculty, and dead last in support for graduate students. “Investment in the academic mission better serves New Jersey residents,” she said.
Rutgers AAUP-AFT represents 7,700 faculty, including full-time faculty who are tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure track (state and grant-funded), graduate students who work as Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants, Part-Time Lecturers, Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Counselors, Postdocs, and Winter Session & Summer Session Instructors. For more, see http://www.rutgersaaup.org/