In her NCAA Tournament press conference yesterday, C. Vivian Stringer was asked if Women's Basketball would be interested in getting RU and Seton Hall to work together to build the Garden State rivalry between the two programs. She took that question in a completely different direction, essentially lambasting the administration for ignoring the plight of Rutgers basketball:
"You know what I think would be great for Jersey basketball? Why don't we get a $50 million god darn arena? How's that? That's what I think would be real great. Because you try recruiting to this. Have you gone to the other facilities? Come on, people. Let's get involved in the things we need to do. And I'll play everybody, anybody, whenever they get ready. I need a facility so that we can attract the same kinds of kids that everybody else does. I'm sitting up here and I walk into that facility at Ohio State - are you kidding me? It's the most incredible thing there is. We gotta do more than just talking. We gotta do something about this. NJIT, how much are they spending on a facility? Please."
Below you'll find the full quotes from the press conference where she compares RU's facilities to peer schools, addresses the funding issue, highlights her preference for new arena over practice facility, and more.
On comparisons to peer programs:
"Here's our problem: When our kids walk in other places, I'm embarrassed. I walk into the University of Maryland and they've got a place where these kids can practice the dunk. When I came from the University of Iowa, the weights were women's weights because our shoulders aren't as broad as guys. Everything was tailored down. Everything was catered. You're thinking, 'That's pretty darn good,' because you know that people care and everybody wants to be cared for."
On how poor facilities affect recruiting:
"It's about the men being able to recruit. We have so much talent here in New Jersey and here in New York. I'll say it: It puts everybody at a disadvantage. But our fans deserve better. In Iowa, the Carver-Hawkeye Arena was the greatest experience. They came to that facility. Why can't people come? We have outstanding athletes not just in basketball but in football. But this should be a testimony to what we think of the athletes. Don't just talk. Do."
"It's just been building up for so long. How can you continue to recruit on your name? I am not a genius. I am nothing. If I don't get the athletes, guess what. And people might say, 'Oh, well, this is a great academic school.' Well, guess what. We're in the Big Ten, people. It's apples to apples. When I was at Cheney State, no, we were a small 2,000-student-body population. So it was apples to oranges. But now we've got to step up into the big-time. Because whether it's the Tennessees of the worlds or the Kentuckys of the world, the Auburns, the Ohio States, the Michigans, when I see our kids walking into that going, 'Wow.' How does that make me feel? How? How? I mean, come on. Do something for us, too. I wish more people could say it. I said it before so I suspect that people will have a whole lot to say. 'Well, just be happy with what you've got. You're not happy.' No, that's not it. I want to win championships. [New facilities] are not it by itself. But it doggone sure helps when you're talking about a 17-year old kid. It helps. So doesn't everybody realize that?"
"I'm seeing the real big picture. We need to bring the big-time people in here. We're not getting the same level quality of depth. We're not getting it. What I'm suggesting is there are a lot of things that are in play. But this is kind of a fixable thing. This is really fixable. We need to take advantage of the talent we have. There could a lot of reasons for us not getting back, but I promise you've got to have the quality of depth. And people might say, 'Just get them.' Just get them?' You know what's happening at other places?"
On Rutgers leadership:
"Julie's busting her tail. She's working I know every time I turn around she's out somewhere trying to get a couple of dollars, trying to raise some funds. I don't even know where it's going or not going. From the top down, it's everybody's fault. If we don't recognize it then something's wrong. OK, fine. I'll get fired. I don't give a rip. I'm just trying to tell you that we've all got responsibility. I have a responsibility to produce a good product. We all have a responsibility to get better. We've got to do better. As coaches, that's all you can do. But they can make this much easier for all of us."
On the funding issue:
"I think those who would sit back and say, 'What do they want? Oh, they want $20 million? They want $50 million? And now they better win.' Come on now. There's a lot of facilities around the country that are very nice and they're not winning like that. But I'm saying, 'It won't hurt.''
"We could recoup the money. Can we get a bond or something? Can somebody come up with something creative? Can we just get a facility? It's unfair. We can do some special things. How many people go to Rutgers University? Think about that. And we have more Fortune 500, more wealth in this state. Why can't we demand that? It doesn't cost that much compared to everything else that we have. And it can get a return. Because wouldn't you be happy to know this place was going to be packed and we could beat Ohio State and Michigan? Everybody feels the same way. All of us feel the same way."
On the medical school merger:
"We need to continue to do that. Our school, our reputation, people that have graduated recognize the respect that Rutgers has. Unfortunately, many people tie the success of athletic teams to the success of the university. Which is not fair. It doesn't take that much. We can get it done. But we need some help. ... This situation needs to change. Period. We'll take a facility first and then Seton Hall can have the next one."
On the fan experience:
"...I'm not just saying it for myself. I think the athletes deserve better. But also the fans deserve to come and sit in something nice. They really do. Instead of painting these doggone doors because that's all the money we've got. Or painting the doggone cement. No, I'm tired of it. Because I want to win championships. You don't even see the banners for the Olympians we've had. We've had three. You don't see anything for Cappie Pondexter, do you? Who else has something like that? We don't even have a place to display it. I'm saying that we've had some special people. We should be proud to display it."
On either a new arena or a new practice facility:
"You know what, I think I would rather have an arena. Practice here. I would love to have a facility where a recruit comes in like, 'Wow.' When I walk into the Tennessee place and I see a waterfall in the dog darn pool table and I see granite. Are you kidding me? Come on. But I'm not looking for all that. I'm just saying. We have to do better than that."
Stay tuned to On the Banks for more on the facilities issue.