Every Family Needs A Black Sheep

By Johnny Ginter on May 13, 2014 at 11:00a

How much easier would life had been for you as a kid if you had a convenient scapegoat to make your dumb foibles look about a thousand times better? How many time outs, groundings, and banishments from various rinks (both roller and ice) could've been avoided if only there was someone else to take the fall when you both get caught stealing tomatoes out of Old Man Jenkins' tomater patch? My guess is... probably a lot!

As a kid, I never got the sweet, sweet taste of watching a patsy take the fall for something even dumber than what I normally pulled; being the older brother tends to limit the opportunities for that kind of thing.

So that's why I'm so excited about Rutgers joining the Big Ten. For far too long, Ohio State has been the bad kid of the B1G, always ready and available for whatever slings and arrows people can throw at us for various minor/boring violations of NCAA law. NCAA law, mind, is not actual LAW law, but people feel entitled to get really angry about these pedantic guidelines being broken regardless. But now, we have Rutgers.

Boy howdy, do we have Rutgers.

The sheer amount of bad press coming out of Rutgers in the past few years is honestly more than a little impressive. They have made almost every possible misstep that they could make since Jim Delany let them in the He-Man Woman Hater's Club, and in doing so have established themselves as the lovable Dennis the Menace of America's most boring conference. At least, if Dennis the Menace was party to alleged assaults, verbal abuse, really stupid/harmful jokes, and dumb hiring decisions.

But let's start with the most recent. Recent Rutgers transfer quarterback Philip Nelson was charged yesterday with assault. Nelson is alleged to have stomped on a dude's head for looking at his girlfriend a little too hard, almost killing the guy. It's an injury similar to the one that Tyler Moeller sustained a few years back while in a Florida bar, except this time instead of a drunk redneck acting a fool, it was a former Golden Gopher Philip Nelson apparently acting a fool. Yep, Nelson was a Minnesota transfer, hadn't yet played one game for the Scarlet Knights, and yet is already doing his part to burnish the reputation of that fine university.

Of course, the administration of the school has done a pretty decent job themselves, and it wouldn't be fair to leave their contributions out. Rutgers AD Julie Hermann has been the gift that keeps on giving, having been accused of wrongdoing at previous stops in Tennessee and Louisville before moving on to make a series of dumb comments at Rutgers like this one:

"If they're not writing headlines that are getting our attention, they're not selling ads -- and they die," Hermann told the Media Ethics and Law class. "And the Ledger almost died in June, right?" 

"They might die again next month," a student said. 

"That would be great," she replied. "I'm going to do all I can to not give them a headline to keep them alive."

Hermann was going for a HAHAH YEAH STICK IT TO 'EM kind of joke, because the Star-Ledger had done a number of investigations in to both her actions and those of the university as a whole. Instead, it plays more as a mustache twirling veiled threat because Hermann's job teeters on the edge of public opinion pretty much weekly. The funniest part of this whole thing is what Adam Rittenberg wrote about it for ESPN in response, and this is where my point about this whole thing starts to emerge:

Take Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, for example. During the Tat-5/Jim Tressel/Bobby DiGeronimo scandal fallout, I repeatedly criticized Smith for his refusal to acknowledge a systematic failure at Ohio State. Our dealings since then have been cordial and professional. Smith is a veteran AD at a big-time school. He understands the scrutiny. I'd be stunned if he ever made a comment like Hermann's in a public setting. 

Do you see what happened here? Julie Hermann said something so monumentally stupid that it made Gene Smith look awesome in comparison and national media used him as a positive example.

Who, me?
"I hope he doesn't fire ME! HAHAHAHAH!"

That's incredible. Gene Smith the person seems like a good dude, but Gene Smith the Athletic Director for the Ohio State University has made a number of highly public and embarrassing mistakes that we've bemoaned over and over on this website, and according to Adam Rittenberg even Mean Gene wouldn't think of saying something as dumb as what Julie Hermann said to a room full of freaking journalism students.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. In the past few years, Rutgers has dealt with high profile stories about its 11.5 million dollar ransom to the ACC, basketball coach Mike Rice being an incredible turd, the previous athletic director resigning because of his unwillingness to fire Mike Rice for being an incredible turd, and abuse allegations on the football team.

Then there's the Eric LeGrand thing, which is so cartoonishly evil that I'm not even really sure how to process it. I'm sure that Rutgers didn't intentionally decide to humiliate a quadriplegic dude, but that they railroaded possibly the ONE person affiliated with Rutgers University that is actually doing something positive for the image of the Scarlet Knights says volumes about how things are going over there.

Anyway, I'm completely in favor of all of this. I mean, not the actual actions (taking a dump over Eric LeGrand and then offering him a wet-nap later is pretty inexcusable), but more the idea of Rutgers being the Ferguson of the Big Ten. Ohio State has been the school with the target on its back for the past several years, and while not all of the vitriol directed at OSU has been unwarranted, it has been increasingly annoying. Gene Smith and E. Gordon Gee and Tressel aren't saints, but they also aren't quite the epic screwups that people like Julie Hermann, Tim Pernetti, and Mike Rice seem to be.

And really, "seem to be" is about the only thing that matters. Public perception is king; Gene Smith could have 600 child sweatshop laborers, slaving in his basement making knockoff Coach purses and if nobody knows about it, then who cares? It's about what makes it in the press, either local or on ESPN/Yahoo!/SI.com, that actually matters. As long as Rutgers keeps racking up the negative press for a series of errors that they seem to be unable to stop, the heat will be lessened on Ohio State and will make us look better by proxy. Which, after the last four years or so is almost literal manna from heaven.

So thank you, Rutgers! Your transition into the Big Ten has been nothing short of a complete fiasco, and frankly I couldn't be happier. We now have a hilariously corrupt New Jersey stereotype to make fun of and exaggerate while simultaneously ignoring our own flaws. Now, you Scarlet Knight fans might complain that that's not fair, and that doing so shortchanges the university, ignores the positive things that it does for the community, blah blah blah. You're probably right about that, but after years of being the target, we finally get to be Snoopy and someone else has to be Pigpen.

YOU'RE Pigpen.

At least, until Maryland screws up.


Comments Show All Comments


^ Pure gold. 

Apparently, their President donated his 90k bonus back to the school, so at least he knows enough to 'pay' for the sins of his bad hire (aka Julie Hermannator)

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

BierStube's picture


"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+11 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

Plus the bottom feeders of the B1G must feel good too.

"Come to Purdue! Hey, at least we're not Rutgers."

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

+2 HS
Doc's picture

No tag backs!

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

brband64's picture

She's doing Sloopy wrong.  Very wrong.

"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture


I'm not sure about the gender, but sure I don't want to know.


+7 HS
jralvarez's picture

Screw Rutgers...and the their flaming dumpster of a school that's rolling towards the start of the Big Ten season.   Whores.  Thanks Big Ten for ****** nothing.   Can't wait to start tailgating in NJ looking for dead bodies in dumpsters all while enjoying bloody mary's!



-7 HS
DoubleB's picture

Welcome to the B1G! <facepalm>


AngryWoody's picture

Dear Johnny Ginter,

You are the man.



Our Honor Defend!

+1 HS
MassiveAttack's picture

Think Julie could introduce me to Snooki?

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

+1 HS
Curt Heinrichs's picture

NJ is a hotbed of wrestling talent, but most of the top kids don't go to the ol' State College of New Jersey. They return a single All-American from last year, but that's about it. Former Buckeye Andrew Campolattano will suit up for the Knights this year after leaving Columbus and sitting out a season. He should be one of the few bright spots for RU as he's previously faced Big Ten opponents with a great deal of success. Not much else for Rutgers on the wrestling mats at the current time. 

Maryland has a pretty good team, but they also had Ralph Friedgen and those awful UA uniforms. 

+1 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

Rutgers is my cousin, Jeff.  Jeff has 7 kids by 4 women, none he has been married to.  He is in and out of jail for, either, DUI or non-payment of child support.  He has no front teeth because of the bar fights he gets into.  He's lazy and perpetually collects unemployment.  I could go on.  But as a teen and going forward, I could always say to my parents, "At least I'm not Jeff!"  That worked pretty good for me.  It'll work for the B1G too.

+4 HS
Barney's picture

I think I saw Jeff at the Ohio state fair last year 

Set your gearshift for the high gear of your soul!

+1 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

Did he ask you to loan him some money?  If not, it wasn't Jeff.

+1 HS
Barney's picture

Nope.  My bad.  Must have been someone else 

Set your gearshift for the high gear of your soul!

RBuck's picture

Purdue and Illinois are happy.

Long live the southend.

+1 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Now, you Scarlet Knight fans might complain that that's not fair, and that doing so shortchanges the university, ignores the positive things that it does for the community, blah blah blah.

Join the club.

Class of 2010.


Wasn't it Rutgers' women's hoops team that was at the center of that Don Imus flap a few years ago? That school is a friggin lightning rod for bad pub. Welcome to the B1G, I guess. :/

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Jpfbuck's picture

I guess maybe I have a better memory or am just older than some other folks on here but I always think about these things a bit differently

think about this, Andy Geiger was hired in 1994, during his tenure we had the following incidents that in part ed to the perception people have of OSU

Randy Ayers was just coming off of being named coach of the year, in the next 3-4 years he would decimate the program thru things such as Greg Simpson's multiple acts of violence, recruiting violations re. Damon Flint, Charles Macon Stealing gasoline, Antonio Waston and Gerald Eaker's car tire shooting incident, Jaime Bosely and another player stealing car stereos, firing Ayers then the Savovic and benefits issued that got O'Brien fired, and his botching of that process that cost OSU millions

The for the football team you had Germany's 0.0GPA, Kenyon Rambo's shoplifting, big Kat's grades/summer classes, fights between players leading to lawsuits, MOC's extra benefits (remember that's what he got suspended for along with failure ot help the NCAA) Troy's extra benefits,

oh and don't forget Derek Combs, Steve Bellisari's dui, etc etc

we now look back on Geiger's era with pride, but for the many years and many times during his tenure our top 2 marquee programs gave us back eyes under his watch. he made some small gaffs in press conferences the too, I recall him saying something like "consider the source" when MOC made his allegation that he knew a players had taken extra benefits, prior to the Michigan game only to find out a coupe weeks later that Troy had taken a $500 handshake from a booster

just saying that at times any school can look terrible given some circumstances. it is how they react an correct them. Yeah Nelson's actions are bad and reflect somewhat on Rutgers, but they acted quickly and let him go, what else could we expect them to do?