For many, it was just a matter of time before the axe fell. And now it has.
The recommendation from the University Senate to curtail athletic spending was more than anyone could fight, and so at this Thursday's Board of Governors meeting in Newark, Rutgers will announce that it is turning to Division 3 athletics effective at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
At the same time, it is anticipated that the BOG will be raising tuition in order to cover the debt service on the stadium (no longer an income producer) and the costs of anticipated lawsuits from the Big Ten Conference, as well as businesses, numerous sponsors, and donors over the loss of income that the University, and and some of them, will incur by eliminating high-end athletics.
Athletic Director Julie Hermann took the news stoically. "What can you do? I came into this thinking people were serious about being a good D1 program. Guess I was misled. Hey, do you know any good civil attorneys? There could be a lawsuit in this."
A spokesman for University President Robert Barchi stated that the President was currently in an undisclosed location and would not make any public statements. He did, however, issue this comment from Barchi:
The University will be making every effort to insure that our athletes have the best Division 3 programs and facilities in Middlesex County. I don't want to extend that to the entire state because then we'd have to upgrade in order to compete with TCNJ's, Rowan's, and Montclair's facilities. Also know, that we have significant plans for use of Highpoint Solutions Stadium and the RAC. Those plans will be announced sometime later in 2017 by my successor."
Governor Christie, who only a few days ago said that it was Rutgers' decision on whether to spend like a drunken sailor on facilities, was unavailable for comment. A spokesman for the Governor said that Christie was "somewhere in Indiana" consoling a friend over a recent loss.
University professor, and leader of the Rutgers 1000, William Dowling was ecstatic over the ultimate success of his long-standing campaign to end D1 sports at Rutgers. "This is the best news I've had in years. Finally, we can restore sanity to athletics at a great university." Dowling announced the re-release of his book, Confessions of a Spoilsport: My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University, stating that there would be additional chapters added on his battle with Bob Mulcahy along with his new goal of making Rutgers sports "the MIT of New Jersey" by adding squash, sailing, rifle, and water polo, while reinstating all the sports that Mulcahy cut back in 2006. "That'll fix'em", commented Dowling. When asked, Dowling said he had no idea how much it would cost to do that. "I teach 18th-century English literature, not economics."
Sources within the Athletic Department, speaking on condition of anonymity, told us in an exclusive interview, that the RAC will be converted into a practice facility for the basketball teams, as the proposal has hoops returning on a full time basis to the College Avenue gym. As for the stadium, the current discussion centers on using it as overflow University housing and parking. Conversations of incorporating a Buffalo Wild Wings in the Audi Club are ongoing.
Head coach Kyle Flood was caught off guard by the announcement. "Really? Honestly, when I got up on Monday morning, all I was thinking about was going 1-0 this week. Seriously, that's true. Well, this does change things a lot. But, hey, it'll give me more time to spend with my family."
C. Vivian Stringer was visibly angered by the news. "Are you kidding me? Seriously, are you kidding me? All I wanted was an arena. A god darn arena with some shiny floors and polished wood lockers. And this is what I get? Are you kidding me?"
From the conference's Rosemont, Illinois headquarters, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany offered, "What....I...er...uh, they did...huh?"
On the Banks will not be following this story beyond April 1st....April 1st....APRIL 1st.