Some New Jersey lawmakers are hoping the firing of the football coach and athletic director at Rutgers will help the university regain its reputation.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Rutgers alumnus, said the arrests of seven players on various charges and a losing football season under the leadership of coach Kyle Flood and athletic director Julie Hermann have hurt morale and damaged the school’s image.
“I am aware that the image problems did hurt fundraising. Making efforts to correct that will only help, said Wisniewski, D-Middlesex. “Clearly, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Senator Ray Lesniak, another Rutgers graduate, said Hermann and Flood had to go and that firing them will help the university get back on track.
“With all the off-field and on-field problems that the football team has had, I’m very pleased that university President [Robert] Barchi has taken bold action,” said Codey, D-Essex. “This is certainly a great first step. Pat Hobbs is a superior choice to be athletic director.”
The changes could help recruitment at Rutgers, according to Rick Gentile, a professor of sport management at Seton Hall University.
“It’s difficult to say until a new coach is hired,” he said Monday. “You know, kids are always waiting for that, but certainly something had to be done, something drastic, and it was.”
As a Rutgers season ticket holder, Codey said the program still has a long way to go to be competitive in the Big Ten Conference.
“So people are going to have to be patient, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “But I also know that the Rutgers fan base doesn’t want to be told to be patient anymore. So it’s going to be an interesting next two to three years.”