We hope you’ve heard about the bombshell investigation published by NorthJersey.com that exposes the financial disaster of Rutgers Athletics—and the lengths that management’s top accountants and lawyers went to keep it quiet. In a follow-up article published yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy added his voice to the state political figures who think Rutgers needs to answer some questions. An article and video interview today describes how NorthJersey.com conducted the investigation.
Our union has questions, too: Doesn’t the Rutgers administration have a duty to be transparent about finances at a public institution? Why have they obscured and downplayed the deficits and debts accumulated by Rutgers Athletics? Shouldn’t students, their parents, faculty, and staff be asked if they want to pay the huge price of subsidizing a money-losing athletics program?
If you haven’t read the original NorthJersey.com article yet, you should. It’s behind a paywall, but you can access it by paying $1 for a six-month subscription. Here are some of the biggest takeaways:
- Rutgers Athletics owes over A QUARTER BILLION DOLLARS in debts, not only for new buildings but also for the ever-increasing expenses of competing in the Big Ten.
- Nearly HALF A BILLION DOLLARS has been sunk into athletics through loans, tuition revenue, mandatory student fees, and taxpayer support since Rutgers began playing in the Big Ten.
- The athletics program’s annual operating deficit tripled between 2015 and 2020, hitting $73 million in 2020.
- Management reported loans to the athletics program as revenue, a violation of NCAA guidelines that concealed an even worse financial situation than we already knew about.
- Despite promises that money would pour in after the move to the Big Ten, Rutgers currently ranks dead last in donations to athletics for operations among 52 public universities in the five richest sports conferences—and next to last in ticket sales.
- None of these dire statistics include the last fiscal year, which is sure to be far worse because of the COVID pandemic.
- President Holloway agrees that the present course is “unsustainable,” yet he says the university may forgive tens of millions of dollars in athletics debt—meaning money that could have gone to our departments and programs would be permanently lost.
It’s clear that the financial black hole of Rutgers Athletics has drained even more money and resources from the core mission of learning, research, and service then we already knew. Our union has been demanding an honest discussion about Rutgers Athletics for years. Instead of engaging with students, faculty, and staff, management refused to turn over public information about athletics finances, forcing us to sue to get the documents that the NorthJersey.com article cites. Maybe now that the sad facts about Rutgers Athletics have been revealed, the Rutgers administration will answer our questions.
We hope you won’t keep quiet about your questions. This is our university—it doesn’t run without us, so our voices need to be heard. Talk to your colleagues, students, and friends about how Rutgers Athletics takes money away from the parts of the university that do the teaching, research, and service. Discuss what your departments and programs could do with the funds now used for paying off debts and out-of-control spending on facilities.
We want to hear what you think about this and many other issues at the first chapter meetings of the school year. We need to get organized right now to fight for a Rutgers that centers students, staff, faculty, and our whole community:
- Camden: Monday, September 13, 11:20 a.m. Click here to RSVP
- Newark: Friday, September 10, 11 a.m. Click here to RSVP
- New Brunswick: Friday, October 1, 1 p.m. Click here to RSVP
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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