Rutgers Board of Governors approves Schiano contract, faculty voice opposition at meeting

Greg Schiano’s contract includes a budget for assistant football coaches, beginning at $7.7 million per year. It also contains an annual vehicle stipend and access to a private jet.
Photo by The Daily TargumGreg Schiano’s contract includes a budget for assistant football coaches, beginning at $7.7 million per year. It also contains an annual vehicle stipend and access to a private jet.

Greg Schiano’s eight-year contract worth approximately $32 million has been approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors, allowing the University’s former head football coach to officially return to the position. 

Schiano’s contract gives him a $4 million base salary, with the possibility of earning bonuses based on team performance on the field, in academics and in bringing fans back to the stands, according to the memorandum of understanding signed by Schiano and Rutgers. 

Not all of Schiano’s salary is guaranteed if he is terminated without cause, with the potential payout decreasing every successive year in the contract and not exceeding $24.6 million overall. 

The agreement also gives Schiano a $15,000 annual vehicle stipend, access to a private jet for recruiting purposes, a private country club membership and a budget for Schiano’s assistant coaches beginning at $7.7 million per year, with an increase of 3% per year afterward, according to the agreement. 

Schiano will also be required to raise at least 50% of the cost for a new football facility with private funds. The new facility would require the Board of Governors’ approval, according to the agreement. 

“Rutgers University and this football program have meant the world to me and my family," Schiano said, according to a Rutgers Athletics press release. “I arrived here in 2000 with the goal to build a program that would be a source of pride for the state of New Jersey and develop great young men. I look forward to embracing that challenge once again. This is a great opportunity for all of Rutgers to pull together to get us back to where we all know we belong. It will take everyone on this campus and in the State of Rutgers to get this done.”

During the Board of Governors teleconference meeting at Winants Hall on Tuesday, members of the Rutgers community spoke out against the fresh investment into Rutgers’ football program to a room with no board members physically there.

Talib Najjar, a professor in the School of Dental Medicine at Rutgers University—Newark, was 1 of 3 faculty members who said they felt the University was prioritizing athletics over faculty. 

“Rutgers University seems to be paying more attention to football then the faculty,” Najjar said. “So for that reason, I am going to tell what I do, to show you that we are very effective to treat patients in the community.”

Najjar said he used a state grant during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s to start one of the specialized clinics for AIDS patients in the nation. He also treats trauma patients at the University Hospital in Newark, he said. 

“And I have to tell you, as extremist as I was, I was afraid to treat AIDS patients at that time. But nevertheless, I did it,” Najjar said. 

Diomedes Tsitouras, executive director of the American Association of University Professors and Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey (AAUP-BHSNJ), said Najjar is just one example of faculty who work at Rutgers Biomedical Sciences. The AAUP-BHSNJ deserves a new contract after more than a year and a half of negotiating with the University, he said. 

“We haven’t even gotten the same wage and benefit package every other union has settled for,” Tsitouras said. 

Dory Devlin, senior director of University News and Media Relations, said negotiations with the AAUP-BHSNJ are ongoing. 

The board meeting was cut short after Charlie Kratovil, the editor of New Brunswick Today and former New Brunswick mayoral candidate exceeded his 2-minute speaking limit on the microphone. After continuing to pressure the board on meeting procedures with his microphone turned off, the meeting abruptly adjourned and its members hung up their phones. 

Despite the pushback from faculty, University President Robert L. Barchi said the move to hire Schiano is the right decision for Rutgers, according to the release. 

“I commend Rutgers Athletics Director Pat Hobbs and Coach Schiano for reaching an agreement following very complex negotiations to bring on this new, exciting chapter for Rutgers Athletics,” Barchi said, according to the release. “We are all thrilled to welcome Coach Schiano. He is the right coach at the right time to build our Big Ten football program into a long-running source of pride for Rutgers.”