How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Rutgers Football Rotten to the Core

Something is rotten in New Jersey. It is the football program at Rutgers University.

In Shakespeare's Hamlet the officer of the palace guard says that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" after the ghost of the dead king appears over the palace walls. They are harkening that something is very wrong. They could have been talking about the state of the football program at Rutgers.

The line between fermentation and rot is very fine. The only real distinction between the two is that rot tastes bad and the fizzle produced by fermentation tastes pretty good.

For the past decade too many of us, me included, became enamored with the fizzle of Rutgers' football - nationally ranked Academic Progress Rating, high Grade Point Average, nine bowl games and six bowl wins in last 10 year, a #7 ranking in the Associated Press Poll ranking in 2006, growing crowds and increased fundraising, lots of players getting drafted by the NFL and then admission to the Big Ten.

I am a long-time college football fan going back to 1955. I have fond memories of following the football exploits of Howard Hopalong Cassidy, Paul Hornung, Pete Dawkins, Joe Bellino, Ernie Davis and Rogers Stauchbach. These Heissman Trophy winners along with Mickey Mantle were my childhood idles. As was the case with Mickey, I choose to disregard Paul Hornung's occasional off-the-field mishaps - betting and association with undesirables.

As a Rutgers graduate, I reveled at Ray Rice's ability to call on a third gear when he needed it and the combination of the power and the elusiveness of wide receiver Kenny Britt. However, their off-the field activities were far more outrageous and much harder to compartmentalize than Hornung or Mantle's exploits.

Although I have written that I'm in favor of giving Ray Rice another chance, what he did in the elevator was horrendous and Kenny Britt's various off-the field exploits have been very troubling.

I got caught up in the fizzle - the pandemonium in Piscataway. I went to Houston in 2006 to the Texas Bowl and loved it when RU won its first bowl game against Kansas State.

However, enough is enough. The recent dismissal or suspensions of five Rutgers football players for reported offenses that include assault and robbery and the suspension of football coach Kyle Flood for three-games and a $50,000 fine for contacting a player's professor to try to make the player eligible to play are too much.

The player that Coach Flood intervened on behalf of was star cornerback Nadir Barwell, who was one of the four player charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit a riot which resulted in a 19-year-old getting his jaw broken. The course that Nadir got an "F" in was Dance Appreciation.

The course involved dance troupes performing in front of students and having the students write a paper about the performance. According to student on-line postings, the key factor in one's grade in the course is attendance.

The New Brunswick Faculty Council, a group of Rutgers professors, was on target when it recently indicated that: "The apparent decline in ethical and academic standards in the football program strikes at Rutgers' core value of integrity and is doing great hard to the reputation of the university."

This is a very dark chapter for Rutgers revered football history which goes all the way back to 1869, when Rutgers defeated Princeton in what is considered to be the first ever intercollegiate college football. The actions taken by the university to date, have been too little too late. The football coach, the athletic director and the university president have been asleep at the switch. It has somehow got lost at Rutgers that the most important job of sports should be to enhance the education and character of its students.

Instead of being another school that is willing to sacrifice its soul in pursuit of big-time sports revenue; New Jersey's state university should commit its heart and soul to building an athletic program based on integrity.

It is time for the Board of Governors to show leadership. In addition to hiring a law firm to deal with potential NCCA rules violations, I'd appoint an independent blue-ribbon commission to quickly review (by the end of the current football season) and make recommendation regarding the future of the football program at Rutgers.

I couldn't think a better pair of co-chairs than Shirley Tilighman, former President of Princeton University and Tom Kean, former Governor and President of Drew University. Everything should be on the table including the possibility removing the coach, athletic director and President and even de-emphasizing football at Rutgers, if the troubles with the program persist.

While the athletic program needs more than a quick fix, it would have instant credibility if were able to lure esteemed former Princeton Athletic Director, Gay Waters, out of retirement to lead Rutgers' intercollegiate athletics program. During his two decade tenure at Princeton he demonstrated that you can have both on-the field success and an unending commitment to the education values of intercollegiate athletics.