And so, tonight, the next step in building athletic facilities will take places.
The great champion of Rutgers basketball, Senator Raymond Lesniak, released a report citing the benefits of upgrading Rutgers athletic facilities.
The report cites that all of the school will benefit as better sports usually leads to more applications, a higher selectivity rate for prospective students, which would lead to better academics. Lesniak doesn't stop there, and states that the state could receive 2.8 million dollars in taxes and create 1,180 jobs by 2021.
Just by glancing at the report, it's clear that Lesniak's researchers have done their due diligence on how investing in athletics would benefit not only the athletic department, but also the school and the state itself.
But what is most interesting is how this move could likely finally erase the black eye of Rutgers, the men's basketball team. As has been documented here and everywhere else, the team hasn't made the NCAA Tournament in nearly 25 years, and has been the consistent victim of scandals, including the Mike Rice event that tarnished the entire school. By building facilities, it shows that Rutgers is starting to take basketball seriously and won't stand for that embarrassment anymore.
They have hired a good man as their coach. One who is humble and even broke out in tears during the school's biggest upset. Now, it's time to make the program to be something the school is proud of. Not a hinderance.
Because that's what too many people view the athletic department as, a hinderance. In fact, not two hours after the original piece was released, an economics professor rebutted it.
Rutgers needs to take the long view. In ten years, the athletic department should be making more money than they ever could have envisioned. And that money should spill into the academic department. The wheels seem to be spinning in the right direction.
But they have to continue. Athletics is a great advertising and morale building tool for the university. But only if it's done right.
Rutgers is in the Big Ten, and as Lesniak points out, doing it right can only benefit them.