Are we there yet? That’s what most Rutgers fans have been asking in the past two weeks plus since it became clear that Greg Schiano had emerged as the choice to replace Chris Ash as head coach. What’s happened since has been a long, arduous process behind the scenes that involved facility guarantees, a phone call with Governor Murphy and lots of speculation from afar. On Tuesday, Keith Sargeant, Steve Politi, and James Kratch of NJ Advance Media reported that per sources, Schiano is “all in” on taking the job and “it’s up to Rutgers’’ to finalize the deal.
A few days ago, the NJ.com trio reported that compromises have been made regarding facilities, as a Field House is expected to replace the current practice bubble but that the football program will likely remain based in the Hale Center. Schiano had reportedly asked for a football only Field House that was more elaborate than what AD Pat Hobbs had previously discussed as the plan. A compromise in that area reportedly led to further discussions on Schiano’s length of contract and salary pool for assistants.
Here are two key points to the deal getting done, which I covered in this article:
- For a deal to be finalized, the athletic committee would need to present to the full Board of Governors and recommend the hiring of Schiano.
- A special BOG meeting would need to take place in order to approve the committee’s recommendation to hire Schiano. That meeting would be open to the public and requires 48 hour notice before taking place.
The report from NJ Advance Media indicated the athletic committee is expected to make the recommendation to the Board of Governors, but the key phrase is “once university officials are confident sufficient support exists to secure a final approval.”
Now I say this respectfully, but this is Rutgers we are talking about. How typical would it be to essentially drive down the length of the field in negotiations with Schiano, all for it to fall apart at the metaphorical goal line? Would it really surprise you if it did? Not me.
With that being said, these negotiations and the contract details likely to be included have been a complicated process. I have to believe the key players involved, athletic director Pat Hobbs and BOG member and athletic committee chair Greg Brown, have been working the back channels with BOG members to keep them updated and to ensure that this deal will ultimately be approved. However, with the BOG meeting being a public affair, it could turn into an interesting scene for sure. Politics are always involved to a degree, so how the members of the BOG decide to vote in front of the public eye certainly makes it a bit different than privately behind closed doors.
There are 14 BOG members and 8 votes earn a majority decision or quorum. A key aspect of the dynamics of the board is that four members are on the athletic committee. Mark Angelson, who is also the President of the BOG, and Brown, who is chairman of the athletic committee, are two of the four, as well as Marge Derrick and Frank Hundley. A fair assumption would be that the endorsement of Schiano by Angelson and Brown would warrant enough support to have the deal being approved.
The report also indicates that the goal is to have the deal finalized and hold an introductory press conference by the end of this week. What’s compelling is the fact that Saturday’s game vs. Michigan State, which is Senior Day and the last home contest of the season, is that Rutgers already planned to honor Eric LeGrand as part of the a season long 150th anniversary celebration. It would be a perfect return for Schiano to have him enter the field with LeGrand, based on their personal history and how it is tied to the program. I mean, Rutgers can’t screw up that type of Hollywood entrance right? It would feel like a healing moment for the entire program and fan base. Too much of a historic opportunity to mess it up. Right? Right? Fingers crossed.
For now, we continue to wait. But it appears that the Schiano sequel is at the 1 yard line and officials are currently reviewing the spot.