Jim Delany took off his jacket, loosened his tie and poured himself four fingers of Scotch. Dropping two Alka-Seltzer tablets into his drink, he sat in his favorite leather chair, grabbed the remote and turned on SportsCenter.
“Please,” he muttered. “Nothing about Rutgers tonight, OK fellas?”
Scott Van Pelt opened the show by talking about the latest Rutgers troubles.
As he gulped a big swig of his effervescent nightly remedy, he thought of how he might have done things differently.
“I could have gone after Missouri, you know,” he told Tar, his golden retriever. “They’d have jumped at the chance awhile back. Hell, if it weren’t for that whole pesky AAU thing we could have had any number of schools, and none of them would have been half the headache Rutgers has been. If only there was some other way into that TV market. Biggest city in the country and the only college football they can give us is Rutgers? Bah.”
Delany finished his drink and slammed the glass down on the side table. The dog walked over and nuzzled Delany, sympathetically.
“Yeah, you’re a good boy, Tar,” Delany said, patting the retriever’s head. “They thought I was crazy signing Rutgers and Maryland. Crazy am I? Well, we’ll see who’s crazy when those yahoos in Piscataway quit screwing around and we’ve got our brand on televisions throughout the New York market. That’s all big Jimbo Delany’s doing, right there. I’m a leader now, but someday I’ll be a legend. Let’s see what else is on.”
He changed the channel to MSNBC.
“Arrrggh. Well, this will all blow over, then they’ll all see I was right, Tar. I wasn’t crazy when I dyed your pretty golden coat Carolina blue, and I’m not crazy now. We’ll show ‘em.”
The above scenario may or may not have played out earlier this week (reports are sketchy). But you can bet that Jim Delany has seen calmer weeks during his tenure as
King in the North B1G commissioner.
Since the announcement that the B1G was adding Rutgers and the tepid public reaction that followed, the athletic program in Piscataway, NJ, has been operating to a steady soundtrack of Yakety Sax.
By now you’re well aware of the shenanigans:
- First came the Mike Rice firing, in the wake of player abuse in the Scarlet Knights’ basketball program. (And the former coach is still working through the rage that led to his dismissal.)
- Then, the school forced out athletic director Tim Pernetti, who had seen video evidence of Rice’s behavior yet did nothing.
- A few weeks ago, Deadspin reported that Rice’s replacement, Ed Jordan, never finished his degree, despite the school calling him a Rutgers graduate.
- And finally, the school replaced Pernetti with Julie Hermann, who had a history of the same type of behavior for which Rice was fired.
There’s nothing wrong with Rutgers hiring Jordan unless their policy mandates that a degree is a requirement of the position of head basketball coach. It looks bad, especially in the wake of the other collateral Rutgers stupidity, for the school to have called him a graduate. That’s probably just someone in communications who didn’t bother fact checking information before it went public. It happens. The timing was most unfortunate, but it does happen.
Similarly, there’s no problem with the school fully investigating the charges against Hermann before taking any action against her. After all, the school reportedly spent $70,000 to vet her background. As the story progresses, it looks worse and worse for Hermann, and Rutgers may be forced to look elsewhere for Pernetti’s replacement. Some folks are not on the same page as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, and want Rutgers President Robert Barchi to answer for the mess. To wit:
Explain how newspapers can discover past bad behavior in a college employee,but Rutgers can't?RobertBarchi gots to go.
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) May 28, 2013
The Rutgers AD and the prez Robert Barchi needs to be fired and new leadership put in place.#immediately
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) May 28, 2013
Shannon Sharpe's #HotSprotsTakes aside, many people weren’t exactly impressed with the school’s admission into the Big Ten in the first place. And sure, Rutgers has looked very foolish over the past two months. The school's athletic department gaffes have made the conference look bad in a very national and public way during the quiet, football-free months of the off-season, when news outlets and blogs (like this one) need content. (You’ll recall the milking of a few players getting discounted tattoos a couple of years back, and OH NO IT’S STILL TOO SOON NEVERMIND).
The bottom line is that Rutgers is going to be fine in the long run. They may never be a leader or a legend in the conference (but on the other hand, maybe they will—one never knows), but it’s not as if they’re the first school to give the B1G a black eye or to do a series of stupid things. One needs only to remember which B1G schools are currently on probation to see that. I’ve even succumbed the hyperbole myself at times, but (mostly) in jest. Those who are seriously demanding Delany kick the Scarlet Knights to the curb know nothing. Only time will reveal whether the Rutgers/Maryland additions are bad moves. Give it time.
By the time Rutgers kicks off its first B1G conference game, all of these current matters will just be a funny story that we’ll use as message board and Twitter fodder for years to come. Probably.
But even if it works out, adding Maryland and Rutgers won’t make Delany a legend. I mean, anyone who dyes their dog blue, well…