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It’s nice to hear a Rutgers academic support athletics

Athletics and academics don’t need to be enemies; just ask the new Chancellor

Purdue v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, Pat Hobbs was given a contract extension. And I posted a story on that in which I said that Hobbs had an ally in the new chancellor for the New Brunswick campus. And some people said, “yeah, right!”

Told ya so!

Deba Dutta, the new chancellor, came to Rutgers by way of Purdue and Michigan. He knows the Big Ten. He knows what it means to be in the Big Ten....and not just for athletics.

Is he an “ally” of Pat Hobbs? Okay, maybe that was a stretch, but he isn’t the enemy (heed my words, Mark Killingsworth!)

The Monday after Homecoming, Chancellor Dutta put out an email message to alumni. If you didn’t receive it, or you’re not an alum, you can read it here.

The man charged with furthering Rutgers’ academic mission in New Brunswick wrote that message praising the excitement and the passion and the spirit at a Rutgers football game. Really!

“I was truly blown away by the spirit and passion on display at Saturday's homecoming—my first here on the Banks. I was happy to see so many of you in the sea of scarlet; your warm greetings were evidence of your hospitality and the deep ties that bind our alums to Rutgers. I especially enjoyed speaking at the Alumni Leaders Conference on Friday and got a chance to meet with several enthusiastic alumni. My delight at the final score against Purdue made me realize how quickly Rutgers has become my home.”

Football made the chief academic officer of Rutgers excited and happy to be here.

Be. Still. My. Heart!

If nothing else, this is a significant confirmation that the Big Ten and Rutgers can and should work. Dutta gets it. He sees the connections and the symbiotic relationship between athletics and the rest of the University.

“Although the Big Ten is an athletic conference, our entry as a member only a few short years ago also propelled us into the company of an elite group of academic powerhouses, where we belong.”

I just got chills re-reading that!

Dutta asks forgiveness for the length of his email, which cites one Rutgers achievement after another. Chancellor, write all you want; it’s about time we tooted our own horn!

Look, in athletics, we all understand that Rutgers has a ways to go to be on a par with a lot of Big Ten peers. But in other areas, Rutgers is just fine. It is a highly successful and prestigious university; read Dutta’s email for a sampling of what RU has accomplished. If only the rest of New Jersey could understand all that.

Deba Dutta is my new Rutgers hero. In his first broad message to the Rutgers community, he is an unabashed supporter of Rutgers. An unapologetic fan of his new scarlet home.

“For those who attended this weekend's game: thank you for the warm welcome and the spirit you showed. For those who could not make it, please come back soon and rejoin our community of Scarlet Knights.”

Rejoin our community of Scarlet Knights. I haven’t heard that from enough people at Rutgers. Granted, I never left; I’ve been a part of Rutgers, living nearby, forever. But it’s a great thing to hear....again and again.

Chancellor Dutta, thank you. I am, as you signed your letter, Scarlet Forever!