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Rutgers and the student athlete

The Rutgers athletic department obviously handled everything involved with Eric LeGrand's injury wonderfully, and they have drawn praise from far and wide for their top-notch academic support structure. However, some other recent developments raise unnerving questions about whether the athletic department truly has the best interests of its student athletes at heart. According to public records requests, Rutgers was one of a handful of BCS conference athletic departments to request overrides from two important, and frankly, long-needed pieces of NCAA legislation. One would require athletic departments to pay for the full cost of tuition, while the other would guaranteed athletic scholarships for multiple years, instead of renewing them on a year to year basis. This post is not to allege or accuse Rutgers of any nefarious behavior. There is no athletic department that could possibly be further from a SEC-style diploma mill (*cough*, South Carolina, *cough*) that oversigns with impunity, and clearly does not give a hoot about student athletes outside of sports. They're not opposing these with bad intentions. Rather, Rutgers cites legalistic spiderwebs in its override requests. As the athletic department noted, the majority of tuition stipends will go to male athletes. That is a notch against the proposal for the disingenuous. Considering that football and men's basketball are generating all of the revenue, it's only fare that they reap some of the rewards instead of having them all sucked up by unfunded Title IX mandates. As for multi-year scholarships, Rutgers cites the possibility for abuse, as well as increased difficulties with compliance. Well, tough. That's a small price to pay for, you know, forcing the SEC to actually treat its student athletes better than prized chattel. This rule isn't going in place to penalize Rutgers, it's needed because so many athletic departments unfortunately do not follow the model example set by Rutgers. Scarlet Knight athletics need to live up to the high standard they consistently set off the field by giving student athletes across the country that same level of respect and dignity. Heck, do it only for regulatory capture so everyone is at a level playing field. H/T: Andy Staples

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