NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Jonathan Holloway answered questions about a pandemic, a multimillion dollar budget shortfall and more during his first news conference as Rutgers president.
The news conference, however, ended on a lighter note.
“If there is no football season,” one reporter asked Holloway, “will you be going to your peers at Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State and boasting about your undefeated season?”
Holloway said he would and the room erupted with laughter.
But for thousands of Rutgers football fans who have the red face paint at the ready and have been practicing the school’s trademark chop in anticipation of Greg Schiano’s return to the sidelines, it’s a serious matter.
Holloway was about seven minutes into his first news conference as president when he addressed the fate of the football season and other fall sports, including men’s cross country, soccer and golf, and women’s cross country, field hockey, golf, rowing and soccer.
“We do not yet know the outlook for the fall football season or other fall sports,” Holloway said. “The (Big Ten) Council of Presidents and Chancellors are in intense conversations about this. We will be following the guidance of the conferences and we are certainly keeping a close eye on how things develop with the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball. So, more information will be coming out on that very soon. If I had to guess, within two weeks there will be a final recommendation. We can’t wait much longer than that.”
The question all along for Scarlet Knights fans was whether the sports programs could have seasons if the university didn’t have any students on campus.
On Monday, Rutgers announced that the vast majority of its classes would be taught via remote instruction. Students in disciplines that cannot be taught virtually – science, performing arts, engineers, for example – could have classroom time providing strict social distancing policies were followed.
The 14-member Rutgers University Board of Governors gave Schiano in December the largest contract in school history - an eight-year, $32 million deal laden with incentives, bonuses and stipends.
Schiano’s Scarlet Knights are scheduled to open their season against Monmouth at SHI Stadium on Sept. 5.
They have perennial powerhouses Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State and Michigan, among others, on their schedule.
Major League Baseball teams are holding camps now in hopes of playing a 60-game schedule. NBA players are going to converge on Florida and begin working toward a July 30 return to the court.