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Friday, October 20, 2006

Football? Yes. Crew? No.

Rutgers University's spending priorities are under fire in the Legislature for dropping six varsity sports programs in the face of reductions in state aid. It's about time. Gone after this year will be men's heavyweight and lightweight crew, men's swimming and diving, fencing for both men and women, and men's tennis.

At a legislative hearing Thursday, athletes in these sports joined others in wondering whether the cost savings - which athletic director Robert Mulcahy III estimated at $1 million - were worth the harm to the student-athletes involved.

The detractors also took aim at the sacred cows of the sports program - football and basketball - that are being spared the budget knife. One crew team member turned a nifty phrase by saying the athletic department is "mistaking extravagance for excellence.'' That's hard to dispute when football coach Greg Schiano is guaranteed $625,000 in salary and other perks this year and the overall earnings of basketball coaches Fred Hill and Vivian Stringer are in the $500,000 range.

Rutgers sports priorities are out of whack. Sure, the football team is undefeated, nationally ranked and generating all kinds of good publicity -- and presumably more money -- for the university. But the lesser known sports that don't generate revenue shouldn't be sacrificed in the name of budget cutting.


Anonymous knute rockne said...

DON'T THINK FOR A MINUTE THAT THE CREW PROGRAM WILL GET GET CUT .this is just a headline grabbing ploy....NO progrsms will get cut the monies will be FOUND at the last minute !

9:33 AM, October 21, 2006  

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