Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SAS Faculty Votes Against Football

By an overwhelming majority (175 174 to 3) the Faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences today voted to cut the athletics budget in half and to require greater budgetary transparency in the future.  Though largely a symbolic gesture, the vote clearly signals the start of a re-evaluation of the place of sports at Rutgers in light of the impending retirement of President Richard McCormick, Coach Greg Schiano's departure for Tampa Bay, and the revelations last month of just how much athletics is costing the school.  The vote will likely make headlines as it coincides with National Signing Day, when new recruits commit to schools, and it may contribute to a feeling of uncertainty that could impact student decisions despite the speedy naming of Kyle Flood to take Schiano's place. 

In an article titled "Rutgers Is Left to Evaluate Program's Worth," The New York Times summed up the financial dimensions that have faculty concerned about the place of sports at Rutgers: 
During the 2010 fiscal year, the university’s subsidy to the athletic program was $26.9 million, or about 42 percent of the athletic budget. The university’s $102 million stadium expansion project, finished in 2009, has not prevented the athletic program from being one of the country’s largest money losers, according to an analysis by The Star-Ledger.
The place of football at the University will certainly be a large part of the conversation surrounding the hiring of a new president and will continue to make headlines throughout the semester, despite it being the off-season.  I can't think of a more interesting time for students to consider a research project for this class devoted to college sports.

Update: The story is covered in The Star-Ledger: "Growing resentment evident in overwhelming vote to cut Rutgers athletic budget, faculty say" (Thursday, February 2, 2012) There is also a story in The Daily Targum: "Faculty supports [sic] athletics budget cuts."

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