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The future of the NJSEA

On Wednesday the Christie administration released its long-awaited report on New Jersey Gaming, Sports, and Entertainment. Former Rutgers athletic director Bob Mulcahy (a former NJSEA head) was on the advisory commission that wrote the report (as was former Yankee/Met Al Leiter).

Does the report have any relevance to Rutgers athletics? Page 26 states:

The State directly or indirectly controls four venues where concerts can be held. They are 1) the IZOD Center at the Meadowlands; 2) The PNC Center in Holmdel; 3) the Historic Atlantic City Convention Center; and 4) Rutgers Stadium in New Brunswick. In addition, major entertainment or sports events are held at the Prudential Center in Newark, Symphony Hall in Newark and the Meadowlands football stadium. The Commission agrees with the transition team in its recommendation that an integrated policy should be developed among the four State-influenced venues and a cooperative policy should at least be developed among all of the major venues.

Man, Mulcahy's part of the commission and they can't even get the stadium geography right (it's located in Piscataway, not New Brunswick). There are some egregious typos ("Devil's", p7-8) Anyway, the plan wants to set up formal lines of communications between Rutgers and the other state arenas, which might have some relevance considering plans to hold concerts and other events in the newly-expanded Rutgers Stadium.

Look on the bright side though: Rutgers athletics isn't part of the state's fiscal problems. It's almost as if, I don't know, state support to the university is minimal and dropping by the year, and the school only spends a minuscule percentage of its budget (and don't get me wrong, even that needs to improve) to support athletics?

Overall, there's not much there as pertains to Rutgers though. There are however plenty of other items of interest to New Jerseyans, including:

  • A potential bailout (and name change) for bungled retail development Xanadu. It needs $875 million (!) to open, and as the current developers are trying to dump the project, that's not going to happen through private funding. The report cites local/state revenue and taxes and job creation as rustication for the bailout, although the latter is a facade as Xanadu would just suck up other entertainment dollars currently allocated elsewhere. This section insists that the project's horrific exterior appearance be changed as an obligatory condition on receiving any funds.
  • No slot machines in the Meadowlands.
  • Ending the government subsidy for horse racing.
  • A state takeover of the casino district in Atlantic City. Have to say, that's a rather unexpected proposal from a Republican Governor.
  • Radically downsizing the NJSEA, which is under state investigation for a giant budget deficit. The report proposes that the organization divest of all responsibilities related to venue operations (which pertains to the racetracks and IZOD).
  • Selling the money-losing Izod Center (obligatory tagline - it's still good for concerts!)

Warning to concerned readers: for those still boycotting Margolin and Sherman, they wrote some of the Ledger articles linked above.