In the Gilded Big Ten, Rutgers Is Still a Have-Not

In the Gilded Big Ten, Rutgers Is Still a Have-Not

Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs then berated the reporter who broke the story.

Hobbs, for this article, emulated the William the Silent statue that sits in the middle of campus. He declined to comment.

Hobbs, who fired Ash less than two years after awarding him a five-year extension, has been occupied lately with the search for a new football coach. All signs point to a return by Greg Schiano, who brought Rutgers to respectability in a previous stint, including an 11-2 record in 2006 when the Scarlet Knights climbed to No. 7 in the country.

Schiano left after the 2011 season to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but lasted just two years. He has since worked as a defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and Ohio State, but chose not to coach this season.

Schiano has met with the Rutgers board of governors, according to, arriving with a set of demands that included a new practice facility. The website also reported that Schiano met with Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey. Ohio State’s athletic director, Gene Smith, said on Saturday that he was asked by Hobbs in August if Ohio State had turned up any evidence that Schiano, when he was an assistant at Penn State, had been aware of sexual abuse committed by Jerry Sandusky.

Smith said he told Hobbs “there was nothing there.”

The former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary said in a 2015 court deposition that another assistant had told him Schiano witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in the shower. Schiano has denied knowing about any abuse by Sandusky, but protests by fans over McQueary’s deposition prompted Tennessee to withdraw a job offer to Schiano in 2017.

Smith, the Ohio State athletic director, said it was possible for Rutgers to be competitive in the Big Ten, in the way Northwestern and Minnesota have been in the last two seasons. “This is an environment where it can be done,” he said. “It’s just finding the right leader.” It would also require funding the maximum five strength and conditioning coaches and having a robust social media department to help recruiting.

Of course, with Rutgers, it always comes back to money.

The move five years ago to the Big Ten was seen as a direct line to the big time, but a report released earlier this year by the university panned Rutgers for underselling to its students, faculty, alumni and state government how much it would cost for its teams to be competitive. (Unlike most athletic programs in the Big Ten, Rutgers relies heavily on subsidies from the university. In the 2017-18 academic year, Rutgers allocated $33 million to athletics — more than three times the amount of any other Big Ten school. That included nearly $12 million in student fees. Rutgers has also taken $48 million from the Big Ten against future TV revenue distributions.)

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