Rutgers Football Players’ Reign of Campus Terror

Rutgers Football Captain Leonte Carroo was arrested on Sunday morning for  assaulting “a woman he was romantically involved with by picking her up and slamming her down on a concrete surface.”  This came on the heels of the news from 10 days earlier that 5 Rutgers players (eventually more would be charged) were arrested for a series of home invasions, armed robbery and assault. A few of these football players must be experienced in those crimes, as it’s hard to imagine all of them breaking the law for the first time together (it’s not often that someone is caught the initial time they engage in criminal behavior). A couple of days before those arrests became public, it was announced that Rutgers Football coach Kyle Flood was under investigation for breaking university rules by contacting a professor on behalf of one of his players who failed a course (and to make matters even worse, that player was one of those charged with the aforementioned campus terror crimes). Let’s not forget that Rutgers also produced a player who engaged in one of the most notorious acts of domestic violence in modern American history.

One can sardonically state that Rutgers Football has finally made the big time, because a lot of top football schools also are chock full of perps who terrorize the campuses that houses, feeds and educates them for free. This is nothing new: Sports Illustrated published a story in 2011 about the out-of-control crime committed by college football and basketball players. Back in 1989, national media outlets published stories about the Oklahoma Sooners Football Team’s reign of terror on their campus, but it actually pales to what has happened at Rutgers during 2015.

Not only does the Rutgers Football team consist of numerous violent individuals with a disregard (disdain?) for paying students, but it is a program that requires subsidies by the very students that they are assaulting in order to operate. During the 2012-13 school year, the Rutgers Athletic department took $47 million dollars from other parts of Rutgers. It’s the most revenue negative athletic program in the nation. For people that argue that joining the Big-Ten will help with the revenue stream, they are only partially correct. Because in order to play in the Big-Ten, a school also has to spend more. Dr. Thomas Prusa summed it up in Daily Targum last spring:

“When compared to other universities in the United States, Rutgers’ academic program bears the highest cost to the rest of the University for an intercollegiate athletic program”, said Thomas Prusa, chair of the Department of Economics. “To try to do any sugarcoating of the magnitude of (this) financial loss is just not being honest,” he said. “We’re No. 1 in financial losses … by a mile, we lose more money than any other university on athletics”.

“Rutgers Athletics is engaging in a financial arms race against other Big Ten schools, making important decisions with the assumption that spending more money translates to winning more games”, Prusa said. To say the University is operating at a net loss would be an understatement. “The only spillover benefit from the University’s athletic spending would be a perceived sense of pride in going to Rutgers because of the wins made by revenue-generating teams,” Prusa said.

“There’s a direct cost imposed on students, that students don’t understand is (there),” he said. “We’re now in this better conference, and the reality is, we’re in a set of schools that have so much of a giant financial advantage (over Rutgers). It’s just a financial spending race.”

In 2007, Rutgers English Professor William Dowling’s Confessions of a Spoilsport was published, and it detailed the history of Rutgers athletics up to that point. Dowling described a number of scandals that rocked colleges and universities over the previous 30 years. He explained that there is a common pattern in the way they are usually handled:

1) college officials express shock
2) an investigative committee is established
3) a version of the following statement is issued: “the scandal does not truly represent this esteemed university”
4) there is an announcement that “nothing like this will ever happen again”

I expect Rutgers will follow this playbook this fall. And in a few years from now, we’ll probably go through this again. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.