Another day, another reputation damaging article for Rutgers.
And, in predictable fashion, the Scarlet Nation Message Board has blamed the media. Phrases like "axe to grind", "witchhunt" and "Star Liar" are tossed around without thought by people as they scramble to try and make Rutgers look good.
Here's the problem: Right now, Rutgers doesn't look good. And it's not the media's fault. Not ESPN's, not the Star Ledger.
It's Rutgers fault.
Once the Mike Rice story broke--and it should have broke, it is legitimate news--the University has made misstep after misstep. Whether it's forcing Tim Pernetti out when he was the only one trying to make the right choices. Whether it's protecting President Robert Barchi by saying he never saw the Mike Rice video. Rutgers did not make the right move from the beginning, when Rice should have been gone in November.
Then, despite all their talk, Rutgers has not done the most important thing during their searches for a new coach and a new AD. It was repeatedly said that the people in charge of the hirings did the requisite work and background checks to make sure they were hiring Rutgers people. Meanwhile, they didn't know Eddie Jordan never got a degree from their own University.
And they glossed over Julie Hermann's past, even though it could be found through a five minute Google search.
The press is not out to get Rutgers, Rutgers is handing its head to the press. Fans have to start realizing that. When 2006 came around and football had its breakout season, the Star Ledger put together a book celebrating the team's successes.
Rutgers is acting like they don't understand the way the nation is looking at them right now. Every move they make is going to be scrutinized because Rutgers keeps touting they've done it right this time. After failing multiple times at "getting it right", everything is going to be looked at deeply. Like it should be.
There wouldn't be an agenda if Rutgers didn't give the media a reason to look. If Julie Hermann didn't challenge reporters to find a video that "didn't exist."
The media doesn't hate Rutgers. The media is doing their job, finding stories that are news, investigating them and writing about them. The media's job is not to look the other way when your favorite sports team/university does something stupid over and over again. The media is not here to protect Rutgers.
Rutgers is the institution not doing their job. And they're not doing it at probably the most important time in their history--with the medical school merger and Big Ten conference knocking at the door.
It is a shame. Rutgers Univesity is a great institution. I am proud to have a Rutgers degree. I love rooting for the sports teams and hoping for their success.
But it would be wrong of me to blame Deadspin for Rutgers problems. These wounds are self-inflicted.
Rutgers--and Rutgers fans--need to start realizing that, and make the correct changes to fix its tarnished image.
Owning up to your mistake, and starting a real AD search all over again would be a good start. Or maybe bring back the one man who helped build Rutgers reputation in the first place.