Now you've done it.
You gone and ticked off the longest tenured, most successful coach at Rutgers. C. Vivian Stringer, the Hall of Fame Rutgers coach, went off about Rutgers basketball facilities today. You can read the quotes at the link above, but know one thing--Stringer doesn't say these things lightly.
For months--no, years--fans have used the Stringer argument for basketball. That all it takes is a Hall of Fame coach to set things right. And the argument has always been a faulty one. But now, Stringer has blown that contention out of the water. Even she is seeing how tough it is and how much better the other side has it.
And what Rutgers has to realize is what Stringer knows. That, if you're in the Big Ten, act like it. Nearly every Big Ten team has announced some sort of facility upgrade for a major sport since Rutgers got the famous invite. The closest Rutgers has come has been trying to track down some money to fix a baseball facility.
However, on the outside, it continues to appear that Rutgers cares not about its second most important sport. Eddie Jordan languishes down the stretch with a 15 game losing streak. And it takes a Hall of Fame coach and a State Senator to get involved.
Jordan and Stringer know how important this is. Jordan talked about it at Big Ten media day. Think about that--on the day that Jordan would be talking to the most national of stages this year, he talked about the needs to upgrade the RAC and the rest of the basketball facilities.
And when did Stringer bring it up?
Just days before the biggest game of her season, when every NJ microphone was turned her way, when she was asked a question that had nothing to do with facilities, Stringer dropped a metaphorical nuke.
Rutgers is a university. No one is denying that, and academics should always be a priority. But this is the path Rutgers has chosen. Big time sports in a big time league. And ending a season on a 15 game losing streak and then sending a coach out to a nuclear recruiting war with a spoon is not big time.
Stringer knows what Eddie needs:
Let me tell you something, if the men's team can get three (good) guys — three guys — everybody else can be fill-in-the-blank. Let him get a slick guard, a ball-handler. Let him get somebody that can shoot the heck out of the ball. Let him get someone who is dunking from half court. Seriously. I mean, it would be very easy for Rutgers. This place would be packed. It's about the (men's team) 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.
And she has an ally in State Senator Ray Lesniak, who applauded her comments today.
So now the question is: Will Rutgers--administration, the fans, the athletic department--do what's necessary?
Lesniak thinks so. "I guarantee this is going to get done,'' he said.
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