EDITORIAL: Hey big spender, try to spend less
Athletics Department should consider U.’s disapproval of expenses
If you’ve ever been remotely involved in anything even semi-sports related here at Rutgers University, then you’ve heard of our Athletic Director Pat Hobbs. And if you’ve paid any attention to the buzz on campus lately, then you know that he’s in some pretty hot water right now.
Hobbs has been under scrutiny lately because Rutgers Athletics' spending habits have been under scrutiny, and as the athletic director, Hobbs is the one responsible.
So how bad are his department’s spending habits?
To put it in a clearer perspective, by 2021, the Athletics Department could possibly end up owing the University more than $20 million in loans.
How did this happen? Hobbs credited the spending and loss of money to “investments” of time and resources into the department. He also explained that as investments, it would take time for a result to show.
But Rutgers and its administration are tired of waiting for these results. The University’s Faculty Council passed a resolution to publicly deplore the spending of the Athletics Department. This upset Hobbs, as he stated that he would have preferred if the University had done this in a “more collegial way” such as through a letter rather than publicly, which he feels is going to lead to a decline of outside donors to the department.
But Rutgers is right to finally take a stand against the large amounts of money that the Athletics Department has been draining aside from its already pricey annual $80 million budget. The University is a full four years away from actually becoming eligible to receive the benefits of being a Big Ten school, which will include about $40 million for salaries, scholarships and facilities. However, until then, the spending of the department far-exceeds the money that is available to them. This is why Rutgers has taken the drastic decision of publicly deploring the department. They could not have just quietly slipped a letter to Hobbs when the general public is aware (and angry) about the University’s status of spending. By doing so, this not only demonstrates to its students that Rutgers is concerned about the Athletics Department’s spending undermining the University’s academic spending, but also sends an important message that the University feels as though their demands are being ignored by the same department that they invested so much into.
Rutgers is drawing the line where the line should be drawn. Although some aspects of spending were positive, such as Rutgers breaking ground for the new center, there is a limit to how much can be spent in one place. This is especially true for a program that has demonstrated a $38.6 million deficit in its budget. Asking the athletic director to make a financial plan that is more realistic is nothing to get upset about. Having to wait until 2021 to reap a profit is not something the University would be keen on doing, especially for a department that allocates most of its money to a team that has not been very successful this past year.
The greatest reason Rutgers has for putting a cap on the spending for the Athletics Department is simply that not everyone at Rutgers is an athlete. With a student body that only has a 2.2 percent population of varsity athletes, the extreme spending that is occurring makes no sense for the rest of the population. The majority of the school does not benefit from this spending. Renovation after renovation of football stadiums is doing nothing for the lives of a vast majority of students. But this is not to say that athletes should not be given any benefits — if they just spent a little less, Rutgers would not have any problems with the Athletics Department.