I am a Rutgers graduate. I have two degrees from the University. I am proud of my University, proud of my degrees.
The news of the last several weeks? No so much.
But that still doesn't change the fact that Rutgers is an excellent school, with excellent programs, and many excellent people. It's just that lately, that news isn't getting as much attention.
On being "tired"
A while back, I wrote a post that said I was tired of being an apologist for Rutgers. Yeah, I'm still tired. But after reading comments at On the Banks, exchanging emails with colleagues here, and just sitting back and taking everything in, I came to this conclusion:
There's nothing I can do to change anything that has happened or will happen. Rutgers and Rutgers football and all of us will be here tomorrow and for the foreseeable future. And as Elsa sang in Frozen, "Let it go".
We can't change how the media covers Rutgers. Rutgers and its people - whether in athletics or in academics - provide the material. It's like those GEICO commercials with reporters: it's what they do. We don't have to like it, and as is seen here, we often don't. So, it wasn't a surprise that at Kyle Flood's press conference the other day, we got this tweet from Keith Sargeant:
Bigger media turnout than normal for Kyle Flood press conference. #Rfootball— Keith Sargeant (@KSargeantNJ) September 14, 2015
The powers that be - and I use the term "power" somewhat tongue in cheek - are doing....really, I don't know what. The other day, Julie Hermann addressed the football team after Carroo's incident. Some reported that it was, in essence, a vote of confidence for Flood. Personally, the last thing I want from my boss is a "vote of confidence". But she finally did something that she should have done earlier: be the leader of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. Up until this time, Hermann has been silent. And we won't rehash her legal limitations due to the various investigations. But she could have - probably should have - done something like she did in addressing the team. "Hey, what the hell is going on? So many of you guys are exemplary in so many ways, why are you letting a few jerks ruin it. Straighten up, damn it!"
But that took a while to happen. The arrests this fall - added to Darian Daliey's back in the spring, too - should have sparked a big time conversation and a plan. Talk to the team. Put them on notice. But it took a captain's arrest - a captain! - to get that team meeting.
Northjersey.com's Tara Sullivan has become my media voice of reason in all of this. She has been critical, but, I believe fair. She has been especially critical of upper level leadership at Rutgers.
In case you somehow missed it, RU FB is in the hall of shame. Again. What more has to happen for someone to act? https://t.co/8IjoDP0rZw— tara sullivan (@Record_Tara) September 14, 2015
And from that story:
The overmatched athletic director (Julie Hermann's representative replied to multiple emails by finally admitting she had "no immediate comment" on the suspension) and the shortsighted president (Robert Barchi continues to let this travesty of athletic leadership go on) might well try to wait this out the way they have the email investigation now heading into its fourth week. But when is enough enough? What more has to happen before somebody does something?
If anything is going to change things at Rutgers, it is going to happen at the top. President Barchi supervises Hermann, and Hermann supervises Flood. That is where things will change. You and me? We got nothing but our keyboards through which to vent.
The final take away
There's a pretty significant football game this Saturday. And there are some 90 players still on this team who will be in central Pennsylvania playing it.
There are five other teams wearing "Rutgers" on their jerseys competing in nine contests between now and Sunday. They can't - and likely won't - worry about what a reporter or columnist has to say about the football program. They have a job to do. They are still chopping.
And so am I.
Whatever happens with Leonte Carroo or Kyle Flood or Julie Hermann is out of my hands. And that's fine, because I have more important things to do. Like supporting my Alma Mater. Cheering on its teams. Being there in times of crisis.
I'm a Loyal Son. And I'm still chopping.