Rutgers Athletics Grow at Expense of Academics

Rutgers Grows Athletics, Trims Academics
By Curtis Eichelberger and Oliver Staley – Aug 16, 2011 12:00 AM ET

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) — Rutgers University students and alumni talk about about the New Jersey state university’s increased funding for its sports programs amid cuts in the school’s academic budget. The 245-year-old university spent more money on athletics than any other public institution in the six biggest football conferences during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. More than 40 percent of sports revenue came from student fees and the university’s general fund. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who gained national prominence after cutting state aid to cities, towns and school districts by $1.3 billion last year, declined multiple requests to discuss the Rutgers sports funding. So did Rutgers President Richard McCormick, who is retiring from the top job in June 2012. (Source: Bloomberg)

Rutgers University forgave $100,000 of the football coach’s interest-free home loan last year. The women’s basketball coach got monthly golf and car allowances. Both collected bonuses without winning a championship.

Meanwhile, the history department took away professors’ desk phones to save money and shrank its doctoral program by 25 percent. After funding cuts by the deficit-strapped Legislature, New Jersey’s state university froze professors’ salaries, cut the use of photocopies for exams and jacked up student tuition, housing and other fees.

Rutgers also increased funding for sports. The 245-year-old school spent more money on athletics than any other public institution in the six biggest football conferences during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. More than 40 percent of sports revenue came from student fees and the university’s general fund.

“I am dumbfounded,” said New Jersey Assemblyman David Wolfe, a Republican who is a professor of psychology at Ocean County College in Toms River. “Rutgers officials appear before the Legislature every year and claim they are underfunded and need more money. Now we find out we have the No. 1-subsidized athletics program in the country.”

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