The drama continues, as NJ Advance Media’s Steve Politi, Keith Sargeant, and James Kratch reported on Wednesday afternoon that there is “a growing belief all hope is not lost between Greg Schiano and the university and his return as head football coach can still be salvaged”, citing several sources.
After Schiano withdrew his name from consideration last Sunday, it became clear that Rutgers was back to square one in the coaching search to replace Chris Ash. With all of the obvious advantages in the short term to make a reunion happen, it drew outrage among the fan base, donors, and former players that Rutgers wasn’t willing to do what was necessary to close out a deal.
Social media has been abuzz with Rutgers fans trying to rally politicians, specifically New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, to force the administration back to the negotiating table. State Senator and Rutgers alum Ray Lesniak has pushed for the deal to get done as well. Season ticket holders and donors have announced online of their cancellation of any future financial commitments due to Rutgers not bringing back Schiano. Athletic Director Pat Hobbs has taken considerable heat and blame, as well as seen public pleas for him to fired, including a petition on change.org.
Whether Rutgers and Schiano ultimately strike a deal remains to be seen. One major bit of news regarding the failed negotiations is this from the NJ Advance Media report:
“What a deal between Rutgers and Schiano would look like is unclear. The deal fell through when Hobbs balked at a Schiano counter-offer that included an eight-year, $32 million fully guaranteed contract that included unlimited use of a private jet for all university business and a facilities guarantee that would allow Schiano to leave Rutgers without a buyout penalty if the school does not meet certain deadlines for a new football-only facility.”
“Hobbs never brought the counter-offer to the BOG or counseled top donors on it, according to several board and booster sources. Since talks broke down, several top donors have indicated they would be willing to privately finance Schiano’s travel needs, as they have done in the past for former football coach Chris Ash and current men’s basketball coach Steve Pikiell. Schiano acquiesced on several requests before talks fractured, according to sources, but it is unclear whether the facilities out clause was one of them.”
What started as a straight forward search has turned into a wild roller coaster ride to find the next head coach of Rutgers football. If donors and political power players continue to push, it certainly seems that Schiano could still return to lead the football program a second time. Stay tuned!
My take on the news and what needs to happen is here.