Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sikahema blasts money for Rutgers football; stem cells next?

In an op-ed piece on PHL's Channel 10 in the week of August 21, 2006, Vai Sikahema criticized expenditures by Rutgers University on the football program. Among them concerned the purchase of land next to a golf course for the head coach. Sikahema's launching point for the discourse was a news item that Rutgers was cancelling support for non-money making sports (such as men's swimming) and re-directing that money to football.

Sikahema noted that if this sort of the thing were for a successful program, such as at Penn State or Ohio State, it might be understandable, but that the Rutgers football program lost $8 million last year. Sikahema concluded with a remark --well, it's New Jersey.--

One might extend Sikahema's remarks to New Jersey's proposed expenditures in embryonic stem cell research. The idea that "if we build it, they will come" may be a good theme for a movie, but it hasn't worked for Rutgers football, and it likely won't work in stem cell research. Without some sort of intellectual property strategy in place, one can readily foresee that the New Jersey plan for stem cell research will be a failure.

On August 5, the Bridgewater Courier-News had put a more upbeat spin on the sports cuts.

Q: This summer was headlined by the story that Rutgers will be eliminating six sports (men's heavyweight and lightweight crew, men's and women's fencing, men's swimming and men's tennis) in the near future. What was your assessment of the whole situation?

A: Anytime that something existing is taken away, it's always hard for the people involved. I try not get too involved because I think the number of good things we have going in our athletic department, everybody has a role and does it, so I try to stick to what my role is and that's making sure I do everything I can to make the football program as successful as we can. I'm sorry that it had to happen to anybody, but I'm not very qualified to speak on it.

Q: In the aftermath, there were grumblings that while the administration is saving $2 million by cutting six sports it continues to sink more money into the football program. Is that a fair gripe?

A: I think it's a much larger issue than six sports. If you look across the university at things that because of the budget cuts had to happen, I think it's a bigger issue than just an athletics issue. It's a state issue. But one of the things that I really was intrigued with in taking this job was for this state to have something to call its own and for everybody to get behind. I think our program will be that certain something, so I think it's as important as ever that we have a successful program.

Sikahema had noted that Greg Schiano, the Rutgers football coach, is the highest paid state employee in New Jersey.

[IPBiz post 1897]


Blogger George said...

Do you know of a link to the Sikahema Rutgers bashing transcript? Thanks.

6:28 PM  

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