We have long memories in Piscataway, and one incident we will not soon forget happened last October.
"Paul (Pasqualoni) was here 14 years ... We got five in one year, that'd be 70 if we were here that long .... We'll recruit their tails off. They're (Rutgers) a one-year wonder. Do I like them? No. This recruiting thing? You wait and see ..."
A one year wonder you say? While no-year wonder GRob is watching his only star player flunk out for cheating, and is rumored to be submitting to a humiliating 10-year series with Notre Dame (wherein Syracuse's "home" games will be played hours away in East Rutherford, NJ) that Rutgers rejected, Rutgers football remains as hot a ticket as ever.
Rutgers, the school's deputy athletic director said, now has three waiting lists.
Months after the board of trustees approved a $102 million stadium expansion — and set off a statewide chorus charging an overestimation of interest in Rutgers' football program — the school has sold all its newest seats. And could sell a whole bunch more.
"I think it was as we expected," MacConnell said, refusing to express relief or even revel in the fulfilling of coach Greg Schiano's promise that support for his program would be recession-proof. "At this point, I don't think anything exceeds expectations."
The Scarlet Knights will kick off this year with 42,500 seats, some 1,000 fewer than last year's capacity, which was boosted by temporary bleachers. But the Knights' stadium will have 848 pre-sold club seats (an additional 16 are designated for handicapped patrons) and 24 season-ticketed four-seat loge boxes (with an additional four handicap-accessible boxes set aside) to make up the shortfall.
With a separate stadium entrance and access to a lounge, two bars and private restrooms, the upgraded seats ultimately needed little pitching, MacConnell said. The club seats required an annual gift — 80 percent of which is tax-deductible — of $2,500, plus the $650 cost of season tickets. The minimum gift for the loge boxes was $15,000, with the price for the four seats in each costing $2,600.
With the request deadline now having passed, Rutgers has received deposits for roughly 1,000 club seats and 35 loge boxes, MacConnell said. As with most major programs in the country, Rutgers awards tickets based on the fans' level of giving. In July, the athletic department will meet with those who've requested the amenity-laden seats, with preference given to those carrying the most "priority points." Those left out, MacConnell said, go on a waiting list.
Rutgers currently has 11,751 on its regular-season ticket waiting list. The per-game ticket price increased $10 from last year, with sideline seats for the seven games going for $280 and end zone seats for $210. The per-game parking fee went up $5 to $20, yet MacConnell said the renewal rate of last year's season ticketholders was 99 percent, of which he raved "phenomenal."
Meanwhile, recruits are flocking to the lure of the Schiano copter like hung sliders to Jason Giambi's pornstache and magical, wonderful, golden thong.