HBO, with no ties that bind it to the NCAA, is able to pursue certain truths. Thus, Tuesday’s 10 p.m. Real Sports should be of great interest and concern to taxpayers, especially New Jersey’s.

As seen and heard in a piece anchored by Jon Frankel, D-I football and basketball colleges have sold their souls — their students, academic standards and financial stability — for nothing more beneficial to society than trying to win ballgames.

And tax-funded Rutgers, New Jersey’s largest university, is Exhibit A. As per HBO’s facts, figures and interviews RU has sacrificed academics for football and basketball. According to RU economics professor Mark Killingsworth, the athletic department over the last 12 years has lost $312 million, with many more to come.

Professors Killingsworth and David Hughes cite records showing that in 2014 $26 million originally designated for academics was instead applied to RU’s sports debt.

And students, parents of students, taxpayers and the quality of Rutgers as a highly regarded academic institution will continue to pay that price.

Rutgers is now preparing to spend many millions more to improve its basketball facilities, to make them more attractive to the best recruits. And if those recruits are good enough to help RU win Big Ten games, they’ll bolt for the pros after their freshman or sophomore years. Apply, rinse, repeat.


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