As my 35+-year wish to be an alumnus of a Big Ten school* approaches fruition, it is, perhaps, time to see what the cost of that ambition has been. Not to me; I got my Masters in Economics from the same school that granted Elizabeth Warren her J.D., and I don’t regret a moment of it. But rather to the school itself, which not only abided a basketball coach who combined the temper of Bobby Knight with the skills of Professor Wagstaff, but threw monies at a mediocre coach (look at his record without Ray Rice) who took the money–including a stadium renovation that worsened the experience for the student body–and ran.** Observers of the school suspected there might be problems when the aforementioned coach got his team bowl-eligible, accepted the invitation–and then lost money for the school on the bowl itself. Have things gotten better since late 2006? Well:
Rutgers University last year cut its direct support for the school’s athletics program by nearly $1 million. But that did not greatly reduce the total $28 million subsidy pumped into the money-losing program to cover the costs of campus sports from football to volleyball. Students picked up part of the difference. Stung by ongoing criticism over the amount of money Rutgers spends each year to subsidize athletics, university officials say the game plan is to gradually decrease the university’s support in the coming years, relying more on ticket sales, donations, licensing and other revenue to sustain the teams. “I can see us moving to budget neutrality in six years,” university president Robert Barchi said last week.
That’s what one might have said six years ago. How can you tell when a Rutgers University President is lying…he’s proving Milton Friedman correct.
(Cross posted from Skippy the Bush Kangaroo)
*Two of my four college applications were to Big Ten schools. But when costs were compared, Morningside Heights turned out to be less expensive than West Lafayette.
**”Transforming the Scarlet Knights from an unknown into a consistently competitive, winning and respected program.”