$3.6 million. That's the price tag that attached to Kyle Flood and his staff according to Keith Sargeant. What was originally thought to be a simple $850,000 buyout balloons to a multi-million dollar hangup for the athletic department. The buyout doesn't come at a good time, considering the bad press Rutgers is receiving due to the $28 million subsidy required to the keep the department afloat.
"Whoa, whoa whoa. Isn't Jim Delaney paying us straight cash just to be a part of his football club?" Not quite. Rutgers isn't getting the front-loaded deal that our turtle friends down south are getting, so you can't exactly count on the estimated $24.6 million annual paycheck from the B1G. Even though a reduced $10-12 million per year payout is still a lot higher than the reported $2 million per year from the American Athletic Conference for 2013-2014, we are not here yet.
Furthermore, there was a laundry list of items that Julie Hermann was expected to do once she was given the job. Renovate the RAC. Upgrade olympic sports facilities. Raise non-revenue sports salaries commensurate with success on the field/court/diamond. All of this while, at the same time, reducing the subsidy. Add in a hefty buyout for a personally likable coach, and USA Today and Pete Thamel from Sports Illustrated will have a field day criticizing Rutgers for continuing its "irresponsible" spending.
Of course, we have to compare the alternative, which is to keep Kyle Flood. The current head coach ranks last in the American in terms of salary, which means he is wayyyy down compared to B1G coaches. The next to last head coach from the Big Ten is Jerry Kill, coming in at $1.2 million. Flood might seem like a bargain here, but what is RU getting for its money? A shared conference title in 2012, and a potential top-25 recruiting class for 2014 (that could lose more recruits as we speak). You also get a struggling offense and a joke of a defense, both playing in the sequel to Conference USA. When you look at the big picture, Flood doesn't really seem like a bargain at all when you think about the opportunity costs.
That's what's important to think about here - the big picture. Rutgers has always prided itself on being one of the few schools left to still emphasize the 'student' in student-athlete. The school arguably receives the most criticism from within regarding spending on big time sports compared to other universities. Yet, there is a hunger for the football team, and for that matter the entire athletic department, to ascend to the next level, playing in big time games. For lack of a better phrase, it's almost as if the critics want to have their cake and eat it too. They want the school to continue to do more with less. They want Rutgers to be as successful as Ohio State without the spending that comes with it. What they don't realize, is that that's not the way the world works, at least not the college football world.
We have two choices here. We stick with Flood, enduring our Kragthorpe-era for the next three years, and wait until the university is on better financial footing to make the necessary coaching investment, hoping that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. OR, we make the change now, hoping that there is a coach out there who can lead Rutgers into the B1G with a sense of optimism, instead of its tail between its legs. The investment in a new coach might seem large now, but with the future financial footing in place, the price of the investment might not seem so great in the not too distant future.
What would you do? Vote in the poll and leave your comments below!