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Dr. Saturday

Rutgers doing its best to make sure every Big Ten fan hates its inclusion even more

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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New Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann (Getty)

Things are going pretty well at Rutgers, wouldn't you say?

The Scarlet Knights had to fire men's basketball coach Mike Rice and athletic director Tim Pernetti earlier this year over the Rice's poor treatment of players, then hired Julie Hermann as new athletic director. Hermann is now accused of ... wait for it ... poor treatment of players when she was women's volleyball coach at Tennessee years ago. Other than that, it's all just dandy at Rutgers.

Oh, and there was the news that Rutgers football released four players, including one who was arrested for allegedly punching his girlfriend over the weekend.

But hey, welcome to the Big Ten, Rutgers!

The athletic director fiasco doesn't look good for the school's leadership. Hermann is under fire for being accused of using abusive language towards her players at Tennessee in the late 1990s. According to the Star-Ledger, Hermann "ruled through humiliation, fear and emotional abuse," and the players submitted a letter to the athletic department about it:

"The mental cruelty that we as a team have suffered is unbearable," the players wrote. Specifically, they said the coach had called them "whores, alcoholics and learning disabled."

Politicians around New Jersey are wondering how a school that is trying to move on from the abusive behavior of men's basketball coach Rice could hire Hermann, given these allegations.

"This is becoming Comedy Central," former Gov. Richard Codey said, according to the Star-Ledger. "It's an embarrassment to the students and alumni of a great university."

"The questionable decision-making at this program so heavily funded by taxpayers continues to astound me," Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver told the Star-Ledger.

Then on Monday came news from the Associated Press that defensive end Michael Larrow had been dismissed from the team earlier this month. Rutgers finally announced that after school officials said Larrow was arrested for allegedly punching his girlfriend, the AP said. Larrow was suspended last year for four games for another arrest. Three other players (offensive linemen Matt McBride and Jorge Vicioso and punter Anthony DiPaula) are no longer with Rutgers football, the AP reported, although no reasons were given.

Players leave football programs all the time, and players at other schools get arrested too, but that's just adding on to the bigger issues for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights were selected to join the Big Ten in 2014. Nobody, aside from Rutgers hitting the realignment lottery, was excited about that news. The Scarlet Knights don't add anything to the Big Ten. Their inclusion makes no sense, aside from a little bit more TV money for the schools that no fan is ever going to see. Ask a Big Ten alum if he or she is excited about the news that Rutgers is coming. We bet we know the answer.

It was a transparent cash grab by the Big Ten to add Rutgers, the kind of move that is so audacious it should force everyone to realize that fans no longer matter in college athletics. Even without anything that has happened over the past few months with Rice or Hermann, Rutgers to the Big Ten was still a poor move that made the conference look greedy and awful. Now the Rutgers addition looks even worse, if that was even possible.

Is it too late for the Big Ten to rescind the invitation?

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