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Rutgers Basketball: Keeping Eddie Jordan Damages Rutgers Brand

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Keep Eddie Jordan shows that Rutgers isn't committed to winning.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Sit back and think about this:  Did Kyle Flood get fired because he went 4-8 or did he get fired because of scandal?

Likely, the answer is a combination of both, as Flood's suspension was a black eye on the program that lingered throughout the season.  But the questions remains, if Flood had gone 4-8, would he have been fired for performance?  It was clear that Flood's team were trending backward and it wasn't unlikely he would succeed in the Big Ten.

The same goes for Eddie Jordan right now.

Jordan dealt with a minor scandal of his own, when Deadspin discovered he never completed his degree.  But unlike Flood, Jordan handled his scandal with class and elegance, going back to school and getting his diploma.  However, Jordan's on the court performance has been remarkably worse that Flood's.

Granted, Flood had Schiano's best team to inherit, but-as Aaron pointed out--Jordan hasn't recruited all that poorly early on, and he inherited Mike Rice's two best players.  However, Jordan mostly wasted Jack and Mack, as was documented here, when they went out of their way to praise Mike Rice.

And, as we know, this is what it's like at the RAC this year:

But the problem is, the longer this goes on, particularly the Big Ten losing streak, the worse things get for Rutgers as a whole. Imagine this for Rutgers brand: If Eddie Jordan sticks around and Rutgers goes 0-18 in conference, losing 32 straight Big Ten games, what will the media say? Rutgers fans have been so media crazed over the past year, lashing out at anyone who says anything negative about the school, teams or coaches. But how will it sound hearing that Rutgers is on a record losing streak and still kept their coach?

Injuries won't matter to them.  Not after the three years, Eddie has had.  Would a healthy team be better?  Probably, but would 2-13 and multiple blowouts be any better?

Imagine the negative recruiting? The Kyle Flood stuff was so bad that it leaked over into basketball recruiting, just when it looked like Eddie was starting to turn the tide. Now, it's probably too late for Eddie. But what happens when an opposing football coach starts whispering that Rutgers doesn't mind losing?  Ash can probably overcome it, football is a different animal, but it's an unnecessary obstacle.

Face it, whether we like it or not, Rutgers sports is the school's best advertising tool. When part of that tool--the second revenue sport--is completely ignored, the branding suffers.  The only people who are holding on to Jordan as coach are people who love him because he's a loyal son, or those that think the injuries are big enough that this was a .500 team in 2015-16.

There are too many 60, 50, 40, and 30 point losses on Jordan's resume, and they are just as damaging.  They put Rutgers on PTI.  This isn't mediocre, it is historically bad.  Jordan can only celebrate spirit and effort for so long before the knock on him is that he's made it okay to lose.

Perhaps the only way to have fixed the Mike Rice problem positively was to overpay for a great college coach.  Most tend to think a great college coach wouldn't have come, and Eddie was brought in to heal.  He has done so.

Time to thank him and move on.

The remaking of the Rutgers Athletic Department has begun.  Rutgers fired Flood and AD Julie Hermann, and hired detail oriented and sharp personalities in Ash and Pat Hobbs.  That remaking should continue.  Just think of the sharp graphics in April, when another exciting name is hired to coach men's basketball.

Not just #AshEra, but A New Era.

Yes, the money will be an issue, especially in the eyes of the mainstream media and some New Jersey citizens.  But it is likely Rutgers will have to buyout Jordan next year anyway.  He won't be going .500, and his recruiting is almost permanently damaged.  The roster is improved, but the front court will still be inexperienced and coming off some dire injuries.  Jordan's defensive strategy of packing the interior, leaving the weak side three point shooter wide open, won't change.  Might as well take the PR hit now, and start the process toward making more money even sooner.

And an exciting, optimistic hire will turn the PR machine in the right direction rather quickly.

Rutgers has a chance to seize the moment and ride the wave of positivity this season.  Remake the big three of the athletic department and create positive change.

The time is now.

Rutgers brand is too important.