Adam Schefter is reporting that Greg Schiano and the Buccaneers have reached terms on a five-year deal that makes Schiano Tampa Bay's next head coach. But by leaving Rutgers in the lurch with National Signing Day for football recruits coming next week, Rutgers will be right where it always wanted to be.
Oh, sure: The timing of Schiano's departure couldn't be worse for the immediate prospects of Rutgers football. Rivals.com ranks the Scarlet Knights' next recruiting class as the best in the Big East, with 17 verbally committed recruits eligible to sign binding letters-of-intent as early as next Wednesday. What will they do now, if Schiano goes? And one of those players—a four-star lineman, in fact—had initially committed to Wisconsin but just changed his mind on Monday. What must he be thinking, knowing Schiano had one foot out the door the whole time?
But you know what? It's hard to feel sorry for Rutgers. This was a school that, according to an analysis published last month by the Star-Ledger newspaper, has spent itself into the ground in recent years to raise the profile of its athletic program, at the expense of pretty much everything else. From the Star-Ledger's report:
The Ledger analysis shows that Rutgers spent more on sports last year than most of the 120 college programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but the school could not keep pace when it came to generating revenue. As a result, 42 cents of every dollar Rutgers spent on athletics last year came from student fees, tuition dollars and other nonathletic revenue, among the highest ratios in the nation, the analysis reveals.
The athletic department spent $26.8 million more than it generated in revenue last year, a figure that ranks it among the 10 highest operating losses in major programs in the country, the analysis reveals. The loss was covered by $8.44 million in student fees and $18.4 million from the school's general fund.
The annual losses, however, have not deterred spending, which has almost doubled since 2005. The increase comes as overall state funding to the university has dropped by $29 million, or 10 percent, over the past three years, forcing officials to freeze salaries, rely more on part-time teachers and even yank faculty office phones.
Welcome to college football's highest level, Rutgers. When you care about nothing but big-time football, you get a coach who cares about nothing but big-time football too. And then the bigger time comes calling, at the most inopportune time. With Schiano jumping for the pros, Rutgers is getting exactly what it strained so hard to pay for.