If there is one thing that Pat Hobbs has shown in his time as athletic director, it is that he is thoughtful and considered in his actions. There are few rushed or quick decisions. And if there isn’t a written plan, it certainly appears that he has one - or at least the vision for one - in his head.
We’re taking it one step further now as Rutgers announced it has retained Collegiate Sports Solutions (CSS), a leading collegiate consulting provider, to perform a comprehensive operational review of the Department. The review will look at all aspects of the Rutgers Athletics program. The work will begin immediately and will provide analysis needed to support a department strategic plan, expected to be unveiled next fall.
The “strategic plan” has been talked about for some time. It may be that Hobbs and his staff have decided that an outside group is now needed to fully dig into the processes of Athletics - and the University - in order to properly set a path for the future.
“Our Strategic Plan will set the course for the next five years,” said Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “We’ve made great progress and the excitement around our programs continues to build. CSS is a recognized leader in athletics consulting and we look forward to working with them to ensure that we are positioned for success in the future and that we can proactively adjust to the ever changing collegiate landscape.”
As has been discussed and commented upon ad nauseum, Rutgers has limited resources. They’re growing, but they are still smaller than most schools of our size. How do you allocate those financial and other resources to achieve the most success and in the most efficient manner?
The University has a Master Plan, and athletics is part of that. But those are visions, grand ideas of what you would like to be and look like, and don’t always consider the means of getting there. A strategic plan looks at the how.
Rutgers Master Plan here
It will be interesting to see what comes out of this process. Is it primarily staffing, structure, and organization? Or does it get into the nitty-gritty of how big a program RU should/could have? Does it say this is where we are and it’s a good place to be? Or does it focus on massive changes and culture shifts? Or all of the above?
People have been (anxiously?) waiting for this master plan, although I’m not sure any of us really knew what it meant. In a June 2016 story on nj.com, Pat Hobbs was talking about creating the strategic plan. “It doesn’t have to be 100 pages; it could be as short as 20 pages, but it’s basically going to give us a map for where we want to go, a plan that establishes the priorities for the department, and also identifies the order in which we’re going to address those priorities.’’
At that time, he thought it might take six to nine months to complete. But he had been on the job for only seven months or so and might not have anticipated everything - like changing the entire department’s culture - that he would be facing. Here we are, almost two years later, and we’re looking at an outside consultant to take it over the finish line. And it’s getting done.
And I’m okay waiting a few more months. Good things come to those who wait.
Rutgers University Strategic Plan here