Academic integrity suffers at the price of football

The report noted that the school has shortened library hours, reduced staff, and canceled classes. Rutgers will also eliminate six sports including crew, fencing, and swimming to save $1.2 million. ‘’One of the saddest parts,’’ said Norman Levitt, a math professor, ‘’is that some of the people getting hurt the most are the student athletes–and I’m talking about the student who gets up at 3 a.m. to row.” However, the football program plans to expand regardless of the fact that the Scarlet Knights lost at least $3 million on football last year—including $1.2 million spent for the salary of the football coach, Greg Schiano. ‘’Rutgers,’’ Levitt added, ‘’is turning into a standard-issue football factory.’`

Rutgers is among nearly all Division I-A athletic departments which have budgets that are in the red. Football is viewed by many—both inside and outside of higher education institutions— as a major promotional tool for a university. In addition, successful football programs provide rich athletic supporters a “winner’s identity.” Supporters are lavished with business perks and luxury amenities to help improve donations. The paper reported the fund-raising arm of Rutgers’ athletic program collected a record $5.8 million in donations for the athletic program last year. “I would rather say it’s a rallying point, not a branding tool, for us,’’ said Rutgers athletic director Robert E. Mulcahy III. “We’re a research university that stands on its own as an academic institution.’`

Yet, the New York Times argues that football has put the academic identity of Rutgers at risk. Campus computer labs shut down early to conserve money and Rutgers has reduced their recruiting money for academically distinguished students. ‘’It’s demoralizing to the faculty,’’ Levitt said.

‘’Everybody has to decide what’s important,’’ Mulcahy said. ‘’Just because we have budgetary concerns doesn’t mean we have to stop having a vision for the future.’`