Brains vs. Brawn: Rutgers athletics at odds with education

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NEW BRUNSWICK -

The recent nomination of a Rutgers sports booster to a seat on the Board of Governors has sparked outrage from the university’s faculty.

Those involved in the fight say that this is more than just athletics versus education – it is about a fight for the school’s identity.

"The entire purpose of this place has been forgotten because people would rather pay attention to a small debate about football,” says Rutgers Faculty Union vice president David Hughes.

Hughes says that he does not want to take away from newly nominated board member Amy Tower’s accomplishments, or the fact that she and her husband give millions of dollars to Rutgers Athletics. He says that he always supports the teams on campus. But he says that his focus is on the more than 60,000 other students who attend the university.

"Everybody knows that that is the main thing Rutgers does. Education, knowledge, research, innovation,” says Hughes.

Hughes says that this is why someone else belongs on the Board of Governors. Someone with experience in higher education.

The university board wields power. Rutgers Athletics benefits from one of the highest subsidies in the nation - tens of millions of dollars. Nearly $12 million coming directly from paying students. But even with that, teams lose money.

Former Rutgers Football quarterback Gary Nova says that Rutgers can be about both academics and athletics.

"Out of New Jersey and farther into the country I think people look at it as an academic school but I think it’s a sleeping giant as far as athletics,” says Nova.

Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs could not be reached for this story. He previously told News 12 New Jersey that there was no escalating feud between athletics and academics.

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