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Rutgers stands behind Eddie Jordan even though he lacks the degree claimed in his bio

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Eddie Jordan (Getty Images)

Still reeling from last month's player abuse scandal that cost coach Mike Rice and athletic director Tim Pernetti their jobs and resulted in a handful of transfers, the beleaguered Rutgers basketball program is again in the news for the wrong reasons.

Newly hired coach Eddie Jordan did not graduate from Rutgers as the school claims in his new bio, a Deadspin report revealed Friday. An official in the Rutgers registrar's office confirmed to Deadspin that Jordan attended the school from 1973 to 77 and took more classes in 1978, 1981 and 1985, but he didn't earn enough credits to receive the degree in health and physical education claimed in his bio.

In a statement released late Friday night, Rutgers defended Jordan, insisting that he hadn't claimed to have a degree on the resume he submitted and that school officials had made the error of referring to him as a graduate. The statement also said coaches at Rutgers are not required to be college graduates, though curiously, a posting for an assistant coach opening on Jordan's staff states the job "requires a bachelor's degree."

That Rutgers stood behind Jordan is probably a wise move under the circumstances. Neither the school nor the basketball program can afford more instability at this point. Plus, the bigger this story became, the more it would lead to questions about whether school officials did their due diligence when they looked into Jordan before hiring him.

Had Jordan claimed a degree he did not have, history suggests his job could have been in jeopardy.

George O'Leary resigned as Notre Dame football coach in Dec. 2001 five days after being hired when background checks revealed he lied about having a master's degree and about playing college football for three years. And Louisiana-Lafayette fired Glynn Cyprien in July 2004 when the New Orleans Times-Picayune revealed the newly hired coach did not graduate from the University of Texas-San Antonio as he claimed on his resume.

It seems likely in this case that Jordan won't face similar consequences.

When Jordan arrived at Rutgers, he was celebrated as a new coach who could help the basketball program heal from the scars left by Rice. He may yet be the right man for that job, but the process is now off to a bumpy start.

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