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 may soon face more turmoil.
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.
Two key factors that will help determine the potential ramifications for Jordan will be whether he claimed a degree on the resume he submitted to Rutgers and whether the university requires head coaches to be college graduates. A Rutgers spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking the answer to those two questions.
If Jordan claimed a degree he did not have, history suggests his job could be 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.
Rutgers released a statement to Deadspin supporting Jordan but sidestepping the issue at hand.
"Eddie Jordan was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2004 and he has been a part of the Rutgers family since 1977," the statement reads. "His athletic skills and leadership and his professional accomplishments have been a source of pride for Rutgers for more than three decades. We are excited to have him as our men’s basketball coach and we look forward to many winning seasons."
It seems likely in this case that Rutgers officials will do everything possible to stand behind Jordan because neither the school nor the basketball program can afford more instability right now. Furthermore, the bigger this story becomes, the more questions will be asked about whether Rutgers administrators did their due diligence looking into the background of Jordan before hiring him.
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.