As a history teacher, I'd always get the question, "Why do we have to learn this?". I could always fall back on the Spanish philosopher George Santayana's famous statement:
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
It appears that Coach Ash has decided to forget the past, and in so doing has, in my opinion, shown a good deal of disrespect for Rutgers' history and tradition. What little there is.
The story of what is happening is chronicled in a story by Gannett writer Ryan Dunleavy:
Frank Burns was the most successful coach in Rutgers history, a football star at RU (and we don't have a lot of them), and a Rutgers Hall of Famer. The award was a recognition of mental and physical toughness during spring football. And I thought we were looking for tough players. It had been given out for a quarter century. Even St. Greg didn't mess with it.
The other awards were for the most improved offensive and defensive players in the spring. The award goes back to 1980 and had been renamed in honor of two RU players who died. And the list of recipients is a pretty stellar one for Rutgers, including Jay Bellamy, Harry Swayne, Marco Battaglia, Gary Brackett, Jason McCourty, Kenny Britt, Khaseem Greene and Tim Wright.
I understand the new guy bringing in his own ideas, creating his own traditions. I like the "Knighting" of players, indicating that they are now prepared to play at the highest level, that they are "battle ready". Having the Student Appreciation Day at the Bubble on Saturday is a great way to engage young/new fans. But why do you need to eliminate what is good from the past? Why ignore the past and those who appreciate it? Why alienate those who love and support the program?
And remember, we're in a conference that had football divisions called Leaders and Legends. It is a conference steeped in history and tradition and respect for its past. And then we do this?
The awards cost nothing to Rutgers; an alum paid the cost of them. It was a recognition for performance, for earning something. That's a good thing.
I find it hard to call yourself the "Birthplace of College Football" and then ignore history, ignore tradition, ignore the great things that are a part of who you are.
And with all the good moves that Pat Hobbs has overseen, I wonder if this was run by him before it was implemented.
It isn't too late to change this and correct a bad decision. And I'll close with another quote from Santayana:
We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.
What do you say, Coach Ash? What do you say, Pat?