Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove of New Jersey’s 9th Legislative District issued the following statement in response to expensive payouts that reportedly will be made by Rutgers University to its recently terminated head football coach and athletic director:
Connors, Rumpf & Gove responded to expensive payouts that reportedly will be made by Rutgers to its recently terminated head football coach and athletic director. (SenateNJ.com)
“Once again, New Jersey’s taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars are being wasted to pay for Rutgers University’s costly and highly publicized mistakes.
“Recently, the State University fired its football coach, Kyle Flood. For failing to meet Rutgers’ standards, the former coach will reportedly be rewarded with a whopping $1.4 million buyout. Mind you, this coach was given a two-year contract extension in September 2014. And there’s more. Rutgers highly controversial and highly compensated Athletic Director, Julie Hermann, was also fired on the same day. News outlets are reporting that she is owned $1.6 million on her $465,000 yearly salary contact that runs through 2018.
“Apparently, buyouts are for when you are allowed to fail whereas bailouts, such as those for giant banks, are for when you are too big to fail.
“Taxpayers, students and tuition-paying parents are learning a very hard lesson: it can be highly lucrative for a Rutgers’ employee to fail, more so if that employee is a level official in athletics. Rutgers has effectively created an environment and culture where failure is rewarded, and there is no accountability to taxpayers, students or tuition-paying parents. What incentive is there to succeed?
“If this sounds familiar, this is not the first time Rutgers has found itself mired in controversy. Let’s recap the scandals.
“In 2013, national headlines were made when the Rutgers men’s basketball coach was fired after a video emerged of him verbally and physically abusing players. Despite the coach’s outrageous behavior, he received more than $1 million in compensation as a settlement. Compounding the depth of the scandal was when the athletic director, who knew about the behavior and also resigned, received a settlement of $1.2 million in salary, a $12,000 car allowance and full health benefits for two additional years.
“Prior to that incident, news outlets reported that a former Rutgers president would be leaving his post, with a pension, to be hired as the highest paid professor at the University at a salary $335,000 a year. According to media accounts, this massive salary was not the result of a long negotiation, but rather was a sentence that was inserted into the six-page hiring agreement approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors that stated, if the former president should ever return to teaching at Rutgers, his salary could be “no less” than the highest paid faculty member on campus.
“How do you justify that salary when students are leaving the University with tens of thousands of dollars in debt? What chance do low and middle income families have to pay off college debt against these odds?
“Everyone – State officials most importantly of all – must bear in mind the outrageous cost and scope of these scandals the next time Rutgers cries poor and requests more taxpayer dollars or announces that the University will be raising tuition again. Permitting such reckless behavior by The State University that charges handsomely to educate our youth is an extreme disservice to the people of New Jersey.
“Recently, our Delegation called attention to Rutgers’ concerted effort to recruit illegal immigrants using a recent amendment to the State’s in-state tuition law that we vehemently opposed. The recent controversies concerning the outrageous costs of dismissing their head football coach and Athletic Director are yet additional examples of how the University is eroding public support for funding higher education by not being accountable to the people.”