NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The 14-member Rutgers University Board of Governors approved the largest contract in school history - an eight-year, $32 million deal for football coach Greg Schiano.
And they all phoned it in.
The 22-minute meeting was held via teleconference, and none of the board members, University President Robert Barchi or Athletic Director Pat Hobbs were in the room during the vote.
The task of conducting the meeting fell to Secretary of the University Kimberlee Pastva and Assistant Secretary Patrick Melillo, who sat at a table behind a velvet roped-off section of Winants Hall.
Otherwise, the only other people physically present at the press conference to launch “the next great chapter for Rutgers Football” – as Hobbs put it in a prepared statement distributed to the media by a university spokesperson – were a handful of RU football fans, a smattering of media members and three people who protested the fact that it took the university just a few days to hammer out a contract for a football coach but that the labor union representing 1,400 clinical and research physicians at Rutgers has been working on a contract that expired June 30, 2018.
And, oh yeah, a Mason Gross graduate who suggested that the school should take all the Rutgers football fans and boosters and “move them all to Michigan.”
And, oh yeah, a worker who came out afterward to investigate the glitchy microphone.
No chairman Mark Angelson. No vice chair Dorothy Cantor. No Schiano. No Gov. Phil Murphy – although published reports indicate he will be live and in the flesh Wednesday when the school re-introduces Schiano at an event that will be carried live on the Big Ten Network.
For all the hype and attention drawn to the Banks of the Old Raritan over the past few weeks during the on-again, off-again courtship between Schiano and Rutgers, the big moment – the vote to approve the coach’s contract - was practically inaudible because it was taken while a member of the public continued to shame the board for not being physically present and for not making the details of Schiano’s contract a matter of public record before the vote was taken.
Moments after the vote had been taken and Schiano 2.0 had officially begun, details of his contract were finally divulged – bonuses, perks and all.
There’s what you might call a Dare-To-Dream Clause in which Schiano would get a $250,000 bonus if he is able to get Rutgers to the National Championship Game. And if he leads his team to victory in that game, he will be paid another $350,000.
Alternatively, the coach will collect $75,000 if the Scarlet Knights play in the Quick Lane, Belk or Music City bowls and another $75,000 if they win the game. A playoff bowl appearance at a higher-profile bowl game will earn him $100,000 and a victory will be worth another $100,000.
And just because the university’s hierarchy didn’t physically attend the meeting doesn’t mean they don’t hope fans will attend football games. Schiano will receive bonuses when season ticket sales rise above 20,000 ($50,000), 24,000 ($50,000), 28,000 ($50,000) and 32,000 ($50,000).
The details of the contract also reveal that Schiano will aid and assist in obtaining private funding commitments to help build a new football operations center and an adjoining multi-sport indoor practice facility. According to the university, the school will move ahead with those projects "upon reaching a private funding commitment level of at least" 50%.
Schiano will also receive $7.7 million to build a staff, the use of a private jet for his family to attend away games, a country club membership, a $5,000 clothing stipend and an annual car stipend of $15,000.
It’s unclear whether Hobbs, Barchi and the board members caved to public outcry on social media when it appeared just a week ago that a deal with Schiano would not be reached. The only question the board members answered Tuesday morning came when one member of the public asked if they could hear him. One by one, several disembodied voices announced that they could hear him.
Schiano's name was on the tip of Rutgers fans' tongues immediately after Chris Ash was fired four games into the season. Hobbs canned Ash, who won just eight games over parts of four seasons, on a Sunday morning following a 52-0 loss to Michigan on Sept. 28. Nunzio Campanile coached the team for the rest of the season on an interim basis.
Schiano can now begin the task of trying to recreate the success he had here during his first term when the team went to six bowl games (won five) over his final seven years at the helm.
"Rutgers University and this football program have meant the world to me and my family," Schiano said in a university press release. "I arrived here in 2000 with the goal to build a program that would be a source of pride for the state of New Jersey and develop great young men. I look forward to embracing that challenge once again. This is a great opportunity for all of Rutgers to pull together to get us back to where we all know we belong. It will take everyone on this campus and in the State of Rutgers to get this done."