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Waiting for white smoke

Well, news keeps breaking. I still have a lot of difficulty typing at the moment, so I'll try to be brief.

What I want to see today from the BoG meeting are two things.

1. A continued commitment to athletics at Rutgers University. The expansion's amenities will undoubtedly be scaled back (this has been obvious for months, and I argue, obvious since the plan was initially announced). Rutgers does have to recognize economic reality. However, there is clearly enough fan support for an increase in stadium capacity, and that needs to happen. Here's a rough idea of what to expect. Fans at the stadium paying more is fair and should be expected.

2. Dismissal of George Zoffinger from the Board of Governors. If Mulcahy is gone, I can't imagine that the head leaker stays.

Even if Richard McCormick does have an expedited time table for naming a new AD, two days is not nearly enough time to conduct any sort of a search.

  • Kevin MacConnell has to be considered the odds-on favorite to be the next athletic director. If "K-Mac" is the hire, then it's undoubtedly a signal from McCormick that he largely wants to maintain the status quo, it's just that he thought that Mulcahy had become too much of a distraction.
  • I think Chris Hill would be an absolutely tremendous hire, but it will not be easy luring him away from Utah.
  • Tim Pernetti is a Rutgers guy, and his supporters keep talking him up as someone more qualified than we might imagine, but Rutgers is a difficult job that requires prior experience.
  • Richard Costello is the other obvious choice, and I don't know enough about him to make any informed comments.

The pool shouldn't be limited to those four, but they're the names that immediately come to mind. What I desire, more than anything else, is an effective administrator with fundraising prowess. If playing in Johnson & Johnson Stadium and watching Nike presents Rutgers Football sponsored by PepsiCo is what it takes to make up the $30m gap in funds for expansion, so be it. And let's not dance around the fact that football is number one in the Rutgers athletic department, basketball is number two, and everything else is of a lower priority. Rutgers is Rutgers, not a Patriot League school.

Bob Mulcahy's interview with Mike Francesa yesterday was rather telling. He doesn't up and go after the Ledger and Zoffinger, but he does put all of the blame for bumbling the Schiano contract story at the feet of the Ledger. If they ignored his response on that, and ignored his other attempts to give his side of the story, then they look even worse than they already do.

The way the tide is turning right now, I think Richard McCormick made a critical error. The majority of the university community supported Mulcahy, and hence had no reason to constantly badger the school and the media. That's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. Only people with a grievance feel the need to complain.

I recommend reading this Rivals thread, featuring a leaked response by McCormick to the Star-Ledger's summary article over the weekend. One of the bigger questions at this point remains what exactly changed in the past few days that convinced McCormick that he needed to fire Mulcahy. Intrepid as always, Tom Luicci has some answers.

According to the two officials with knowledge of the unfolding events, McCormick spoke in person and by phone with key board members on Monday and Tuesday.

By then, even ardent supporters of the athletic department felt a change was needed to signal the university was working to fix its problems, the officials said.

At the same time, McCormick was engaged in serious conversations with key political leaders. Members of the Assembly leadership had sent word they were considering holding budget committee hearings into Rutgers' governance, the officials said.

A more direct suggestion came from Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, who informed the president a change in leadership at the athletics department was essential, the officials said.

Late Tuesday, McCormick met with the board's governance committee, the panel most critical to the president's continued control of the university. To a person, the officials said, the committee's members told McCormick they would support his decision to fire Mulcahy.

Remember, Diegnan is the same clown that thought it was a good idea for the legislature to debate changing the Rutgers athletic logo.

Also recommended is this thread, indicating that that Sherman and Margolin plan to milk this for all its worth. That angle seems like a major stretch, but so have many angles of this story, which have not stopped them in the past.

Other matters of interest: other fans are planning to raise money to run an ad in a Ledger (these projects usually don't work, and the best way to help Rutgers athletics is to give them the funds directly). A fan on Scout wants to speak at the BoG meeting today, but may run afoul of procedural rules.